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Can Seahawks Turn Adversity From Harvin Trade Into Opportunity?

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Percy Harvin stands on the sideline late in the second half of the Seahawks' 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Seattle.

The spotlight will be on the Seahawks once again this weekend as the team tries to bounce back from all the controversy that's been swirling around them recently. They play the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday.

The Seahawks have been under intense scrutiny following back-to-back losses and the shocking trade of star receiver Percy Harvin.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says this is what happens when a defending Super Bowl champion makes a controversial mid-season trade that really amounts to a firing. 'Blood In The Water'

Art says a lot national reporters were swarming around Seahawks headquarters in Renton on Wednesday when the Seahawks had their weekly presser and open locker room.

“Everybody is sensing blood in the water here. The champs are failing,” Art said.

Russell Wilson Not Black Enough?

Amid the fallout from the Harvin trade and the team's losing streak comes a story this week in Bleacher Report. It cites anonymous Seahawks players who claim that quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t black enough and it’s dividing the team. Art doesn’t think there’s anything to the claims.

“I wonder if Russell is too Christian as well. And I wonder is Russell is too much of a coach’s pet — that was a charge that was made in the story. And certainly we all know that Russell is too short to play quarterback,” he said facetiously.

It’s About Production

“To me, that sort of story is irrelevant," Art continued. "It’s the sort of thing that happens when you invite scrutiny by doing something controversial and unexpected, like trading Percy Harvin.

“What counts is not your faith. What counts is not your relationship with your coaches. What counts is your production on the field.”

Wilson Made NFL History

In the game against the Rams on Sunday, which the Seahawks lost 28-26, Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game.

“That was an extraordinary feat,” Art said. “Yes, it was in a loss but Russell isn’t playing special teams — and that’s where the game was lost.”

Coach’s Pet?

As for the claim in the Bleacher Report story that Wilson is too much of a coach’s pet, Art says that’s ideal. The other option is to be like the Washington Redskins, where coach Mike Shanahan was fired because he couldn’t get along with quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“The idea that Russell is sort of a ‘house man’ for John Schneider and Pete Carroll, well, it seems to me that that’s what you want. You want the general manager, the coach and the quarterback on the same page.”

The Trouble With Percy…

What the Seahawks didn’t want was what was apparently happening with Harvin, who was sent to the New York Jets in a shocking trade on Friday, Oct. 17. We’ve learned why Harvin was likely let go.

“Harvin has a very hot temper,” Art said. “He did punch out Golden Tate the day before the Super Bowl. He did fight with (receiver) Doug Baldwin in preseason. And I do believe, even though the Seahawks have not acknowledged it, that he was insubordinate. He did not return to games when he was asked.”

“In the Dallas game he did not play in 11 of the final 17 plays when the game was in the balance," Art continued. "That was extraordinary. It was noticed by everybody. We thought perhaps there was an injury.

“The Seahawks won’t confirm that he was being insubordinate but it seems to me that the drastic action of a mid-season trade of a superstar player suggests that they were ready to get rid of him at any cost, that they were better off without him than with him.”

Make Them Stronger?

Art thinks that the Seahawks going from the targeted Super Bowl champions to the underdogs that they once were suits the team and fits Carroll's style of coaching.

“They love to circle the wagons. They love to say that the world is against them. And they would love to prove the world wrong.

"The Seahawks are right on the edge and I think this is a defining moment for the team. I suspect they’re going to do well," he said.


You can find Art Thiel’s work at Sportspress Northwestand

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.