RENTON, Wash. — A glorious Seattle fall day made it that much easier for Percy Harvin to finally see the finish line.
“Oh, man, today was an excellent day just to be back in the building and around my guys,’’ said Harvin, a receiver who took part in his first practice with the Seahawks since June, and had hip surgery on Aug. 1.
Still, exactly when the man who was Seattle’s prized offensive offseason acquisition will make his Seahawks debut remains a little hazy.
While he is eligible to play for the Seahawks at St. Louis on Monday night, both Harvin and coach Pete Carroll said after Tuesday’s practice they won’t rush his return.
“I want to play as soon as possible,’’ Harvin said. “But we all want to be smart in this thing, so we put a plan together and we are just going to take it day by day and see how it feels.’’
The fact he’ll play in a game soon, though, is better than what many thought might be the case when training camp began in July and Harvin was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
It was a disappointing beginning to the Seattle career for a player whom the Seahawks paid dearly to get, acquiring him from Minnesota for their 2013 first- and seventh-round picks and their 2014 third-round pick, then signing him to a six-year deal that could pay $67 million.
At the time, rumors swirled that Harvin might be out for the season.
Harvin admitted Tuesday he was one of those who initially figured his outlook to return this season was bleak.
“At first I was kind of listening to them, thinking it could be season-ending or six to eight months is what they was thinking,’’ he said. “But after I prayed on it and after I had the surgery, I was already picking my leg up the night after they did the surgery and I was already riding a bike. So there was no doubt in my mind at that point that I could make a quick recovery.’’
Harvin, in his first comments since the news of the hip injury surfaced, said he’s unclear exactly when he got hurt. The injury was eventually diagnosed as a torn labrum.
“I have no idea,’’ he said. “Looking at it, they say it could have been wear and tear. But it’s 100 things they said it could have been.’’
Harvin said the injury was intrusive enough that “it was bothering me sleeping, running, just relaxing. It was getting real tough.’’
Harvin said the injury was bad enough that it was a “cut-and-dry’’ decision to have the surgery. That doesn’t mean it was easy to make, especially coming at the beginning of a new season with a new team.
“It was just tough for me coming to a new team and I didn’t know how everybody would perceive it,’’ he said. “It was just real tough for me to deal with. I didn’t really want to have it, but I knew it was something that needed to get done.’’
Tuesday, though, Harvin said the “long ride’’ has “been all worth it.’’
“It’s feeling great,’’ he said. “I haven’t had any setbacks, I’m running pretty good, cutting pretty good, doing all the things I was doing previously. It’s just getting the practices in, getting back in the meetings, and I’ll be ready to go.’’
Carroll said Harvin will be eased back into practice but said he liked what he saw Tuesday.
“He looks quick and ready to take the next step, which is the next time we come back on Thursday,’’ Carroll said. “One day at a time.”
The team has a three-week window in which Harvin can practice without being on the active roster and playing. After the game at St. Louis, Seattle hosts Tampa Bay on Nov. 3 and then plays at Atlanta on Nov. 10.
Asked what he needs to see out of Harvin to put him on the active roster, Carroll said: “He’s got to get through normal days of practice and see how he handles it. The thought we’ve been going with all along is take the conservative approach and make sure our guys are healthy, and we’re going to continue to do that.’’
The last time Harvin played was Nov. 4 at CenturyLink Field when he was with the Vikings and suffered a sprained ankle that cost him the rest of the 2012 season.
At the time, Harvin was considered a potential MVP candidate, leading the NFL in total yards (677 receiving, 96 rushing, 574 kickoff returns) and on pace for 2,400 for the season.
“It’s been tough, man,’’ Harvin said of waiting to get back on the field. “I have a lot of things built up in me that I’m just ready to unleash on the field.’’