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Jets release David Nelson to make room for talented Percy Harvin

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) catches

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) catches the football during warmup drills before practice in Renton, Wash. (Jan. 23, 2014) Credit: AP

The Jets have jettisoned a good guy for a potential problem child.

They announced the release of receiver David Nelson -- the ultimate locker-room guy -- on Saturday to make room for his college teammate, Percy Harvin, whom the Jets acquired in a trade with Seattle. The deal was contingent upon Harvin passing a physical on Saturday, which he did.

According to the Seattle Times, a source confirmed that Harvin got into an altercation with former Seahawk Golden Tate before last February's Super Bowl that resulted in Tate getting a black eye.

A source also told the Seattle newspaper that in the week leading up to the final preseason game, Harvin had an altercation with fellow receiver Doug Baldwin that resulted in Baldwin getting a cut on his chin and each player being excused from practices that week. Harvin did not make the trip to Oakland for what the team said at the time was "a personal matter."

The Seattle Times also reported that Harvin didn't want to go back into the game against Dallas in the fourth quarter last Sunday. "He's just a time bomb," an NFL source told the newspaper, describing him as "too moody."

The Jets offered a more optimistic view of Harvin. "Percy is a versatile, dynamic player who has been productive on offense and special teams," general manager John Idzik said on the team's website. "We're excited about adding him to the Jets."

Seattle will receive a conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fourth-rounder, according to

Nelson -- Harvin's former teammate on Florida's national championship team -- often voiced confidence that his team could turn the season around. But he didn't leave a lasting impression on the field: only eight catches for 65 yards and no touchdowns this season. His Jets tenure ends with 44 receptions for 488 yards and two touchdowns in 18 games.

Harvin has 22 catches for 133 yards and 11 rushes for 92 yards and a touchdown this season. On Oct. 6, he had three touchdowns against the Redskins called back because of penalties.

He missed all but one regular-season game in 2013 after recovering from offseason hip surgery but returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

Harvin, the 22nd overall pick by the Vikings in 2009, set a franchise record with five touchdowns on kickoff returns. But the talented receiver also has a long history -- from college and through his time with the Vikings and Seahawks -- of being difficult to deal with.

The Seahawks said they did their due diligence before acquiring him from Minnesota for first- and seventh-round picks in the 2013 draft and a third-round pick in 2014. At the time, Seattle coach Pete Carroll called the move a "no-brainer." But by sending him to the Jets, Carroll and general manager John Schneider might be saying that the trade didn't work out.

Schneider said in a statement: "Although this was an extremely difficult decision, we are constantly evaluating our team and believe at this time that this is in our best interest to move the team forward. We thank Percy for his efforts that contributed to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory and wish him well."

Idzik was the Seahawks' vice president of football administration from 2007-12. In two seasons, he has shown that he likes to do business with his former team. Starting right tackle Breno Giacomini, current starting cornerback Phillip Adams and Harvin have Seattle ties.

The Jets primarily have used Saalim Hakim and Walter Powell on kickoff returns after waiving 2014 draft pick Jalen Saunders, but Harvin figures to be a key on special teams going forward. He has averaged 27.7 yards a return in his career but hasn't returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a regular-season game since 2012.

Harvin is under contract through 2018, but no portion of his salary is guaranteed beyond this season. According to Sportrac, he will count $7.1 million against the salary cap this season and $10.5 million next season.

New York Sports