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Bills sign Percy Harvin in effort to bolster receiver position

Posted Nov 1, 2016

Buffalo signed veteran Percy Harvin on Tuesday to fortify their receiving corps that has just a trio of healthy wide outs.


With Buffalo’s receiver position unable to escape the injury bug, the Bills signed a receiver from their recent past. Buffalo signed veteran Percy Harvin on Tuesday to fortify their receiving corps that has just a trio of healthy wide outs in Marquise Goodwin, Justin Hunter and Walt Powell.

Bills GM Doug Whaley confirmed that the club reached out to Harvin to gauge his interest in playing again.

“We always keep every option open and it was one of those things with his familiarity with our offense that we decided to see where he is," said Whaley. "After that step credit to (Bills Senor VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf who talked to his agent. His agent reached out to Percy and here we are now.”

This past April, Harvin decided to walk away from football, due mainly to a chronic hip injury, but he's apparently ready to resume his NFL career.

“Percy is a guy that worked so hard,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “It’s either full speed (or nothing), and sometimes you try to back him down a little bit, but that’s why last year he was so frustrated that he wasn’t able to contribute more to our team. He just needed some time away from the game to get healed up. So hopefully we catch lightning in a bottle so to speak and Percy is back to himself.”

Harvin, 28, played for the Bills last season after signing as a free agent. Injuries however, compromised his availability as he appeared in just five games in 2015. The receiver/returner had 19 receptions for 218 yards and a touchdown for Buffalo last year. Still, his teammates were noticeably buoyed by his return to the roster Tuesday.

“That’s my boy,” said Tyrod Taylor of Harvin, who Taylor has known since their high school days in Virginia. “I’m very excited that he’s back.”

Having a working familiarity with Buffalo’s offensive system, it’s expected that Harvin will suit up and play for the Bills sooner rather than later. Whaley even indicated that it's possible Harvin could suit up for Monday Night Football in Seattle this week.

"It’s going to be a process that we take," Whaley said. "It’s one of those things where we do the best thing for him and for us long term. But if he comes out and looks really good and we can throw him into some packages, we’re not going to say no."

If Harvin is in Buffalo's lineup Monday night it will bring a level of intrigue to the game knowing he played for parts of two seasons with the Seahawks. Seattle acquired him via trade in 2013 only to trade him to the Jets one year later when Rex Ryan was coaching the Jets.

Buffalo’s receiver position has been hit hard by injuries since Sammy Watkins went on injured reserve in Week 3 with a recurrence of the foot injury that forced him to have surgery last spring. Fellow WR Greg Salas joined him on I-R a short time later.

Robert Woods is currently playing through a foot injury and Brandon Tate is in the concussion protocol after getting injured last Sunday.

But for half a season Harvin will try to help provide a playmaking boost to Buffalo’s hobbled receiving corps. The Bills currently rank 31st in the league in passing.

“He’s obviously a dynamic playmaker and a great teammate,” said Jerome Felton. “I was with him in Minnesota and here with him last year. He’s an explosive player who has been a playmaker in the league. I know he had some health issues, but if those are resolved you’re bringing an A-plus talent to the team obviously it adds a lot to our offense.”

To make room on the roster for Harvin, the Bills placed Aaron Williams on injured reserve, which could prematurely end his 2016 season. Williams suffered a neck injury after a vicious hit from Miami WR Jarvis Landry in Week 7 that drew an unnecessary roughness flag and a fine from the league.