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Super Bowl salvages lost season for Percy Harvin

Updated: February 3, 2014 12:28AM



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Limited to 39 snaps because of injuries, Percy Harvin endured a difficult season since joining the Seattle Seahawks in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.

But he had fresh legs Sunday night.

With speed seemingly at another level, Harvin stunned the Denver Broncos with just three touches that helped the Seahawks to a 43-8 rout in Super Bowl
XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

The big blow was Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half. Before that, Harvin sparked the offense with a pair of end-arounds, one for 30 yards on the Seahawks’ second play from scrimmage, the other a 15-yard gain.

‘‘It’s a big horse off my back. I was finally able to give my team something,’’ said Harvin, who played in just one game during the season. ‘‘That meant a lot to me. Being in and out all season, it took a toll on me. So being there at the finish and being able to give my teammates something back — because I leaned on those guys to keep up my spirits — that meant the world to me.’’

Harvin’s kickoff return was a lethal blow. It gave the Seahawks a 29-0 lead and all but ended any hopes the Broncos had of rallying from a 22-0 halftime deficit.

‘‘It was a counter-right [return],’’ Harvin said. ‘‘We hadn’t put it on film all year, so we knew there was a great chance we could catch them off guard. Those guys cleared out the whole right side of the field. I think there were only two defenders over there. I just hit the gap.’’

Harvin arrived in Seattle with big expectations after the Sea-hawks traded three draft picks to the Vikings for him and signed him to a six-year, $67 million contract, with $25 million guaranteed. But he had hip surgery and played in only one game. He returned for the playoffs against the Saints, but suffered a concussion and missed the NFC Championship against the 49ers.

‘‘It was amazing,’’ Harvin said. ‘‘Those guys had so much belief in me. Even when I wasn’t playing, those guys were saying, ‘You’re going to score on this.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I’m not even on the field practicing yet.’ Coach just saved that one return for me hoping we could get a look, and it all came through.’’

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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