I remember giving the selection of Percy Harvin in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft a “C” grade due mostly to the character concerns following him out of Florida.
After three seasons of breath-taking plays, Harvin’s character concerns have never reared their ugly in any big way, and he has actually grown into a sort of leadership role on the offense.
Now, however, stories about Urban Meyer’s mismanagement of the Florida program are now uncovering new details of Harvin’s checkered past. According to the reports from Sporting News, Harvin “epitomized the climate” created by Meyer that entitled certain players and led to practices that placed stars like Harvin into a special category, allegedly allowing them to get away with things they should not have.
In 2008, Meyer told the press that Harvin and two other players missed four games due to injury. In reality, it appears that Harvin missed those games as a result of a failed drug test and the University required the four game suspension but Meyer made sure to cover for his players. Harvin also reportedly failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine prior to the Vikings drafting him.
The report continues to recall a story where Harvin grew tired of doing stadium runs and decided to just stop. When told to keep moving he exclaimed, “This (bad word) end now.” The following day conditioning did not include stadium runs, and instead the players played basketball.
The most troubling story is the one that tells of Harvin assaulting wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales by throwing him to the ground and putting his hands around his neck. Meyers never let the truth about that incident become public, saying only that “something did happen,” and Gonzales himself claims that the incident was blown out of proportion.
Harvin, in November of 2010, reportedly got into a verbal altercation with Brad Childress that nearly turned physical but stopped just short.
Harvin has not yet commented on the article by Sporting News and with his surgery scheduled for Tuesday, it is unlikely he will grant media access any time real soon.
At the end of this latest season, Harvin won the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award for his professionalism in dealing with the media. Outside of the Childress incident and some mild pouting about the sudden release of teammate Randy Moss, Harvin seems to have his life under control and appears to be the exact type of player the Vikings were hoping to get when they selected him.
In fact, if it wasn’t for recent scandals following Urban Meyer around, Harvin’s character concerns would still be just a thing of the past.