The Seattle Seahawks got some unexpected, but welcome news on Monday with Pete Carroll saying wide receiver Percy Harvin will practice on Thursday with the intention of playing in Seattle's playoff game next week.
Harvin will still need to make it through two weeks of practice without a serious setback if he's going to see the field, but the progress is significant. He played in just one regular season game after undergoing hip surgery during training camp. He returned in Week 11, but the injury stiffened up and he rarely practiced during the final six weeks. The injury was such a problem that many media members expected Seattle to place Harvin on injured reserve, possibly this week. That was still the thought as recently as Sunday.
Things turned for the positive for Seattle, however, and now the Seahawks have a chance to get him back for the playoffs. The Seahawks offense has struggled in recent weeks, so getting Harvin back would be a major boost. Even if he is able to only play limited snaps, it can still make a significant difference. Danny Kelly of Field Gulls detailed how even the presence of Harvin on the field opens up things for the Seattle offense.
Black Monday firings
Four coaches were fired on "Black Monday," including two who led their teams to the playoffs last season. Rob Chudzinski was fired on Sunday.
This move came as no surprise after weeks of rumors. The Redskins struggled on the field and there were rampant rumors of issues off it. Washington fired Shanahan after four seasons. He guided the team to the NFC East title last season, but regressed to 3-13 this season. He finished with a 24-40 record as Washington's coach.
Quarterback issues ultimately doomed Frazier as he was fired following a 5-10-1 season. Frazier had an up-and-down tenure with Minnesota. He took over after Brad Childress was fired in 2010 and led Minnesota to a 3-3 record. That led to him getting the full-time job, but the Vikings went 3-13 in his first season. Behind an MVP season from Adrian Peterson, Minnesota improved to 10-6 last season and made the playoffs. Things regressed this year and the Vikings started three different quarterbacks. Minnesota also finished with the worst defense in the league, ranking 32nd in points allowed.
Two months ago, the Lions were in great position to make the playoffs. Now, after losing six of their final seven games, the Lions are sitting at home and Schwartz is out of a job. Detroit was 6-3 and in solid position in the NFC North. Things unraveled from there with five of the six losses coming to teams who missed the playoffs. The Lions went 29-51 in Schwartz's five seasons in Detroit, making one playoff appearance.
The Buccaneers fired Schiano after a tumultuous season. Tampa Bay started the season 0-8 with issues off the field and a very messy situation with former starting quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman was benched and eventually released with questions of how a medical record was made public. Even though Tampa Bay went on to win four games, it lost its final three, two of which were in blowout fashion. Tampa Bay was among the worst offenses in the league, ranking 30th in scoring and 32nd in yards. Schiano spent just two seasons in Tampa Bay, compiling an 11-21 record.
Rex Ryan wasn't among the coaches fired as the Jets instead opted to retain him for 2014. Ryan reportedly sought a long-term contract extension, but his retention did not come with that stability. Instead, Ryan received an offer for a one-year extension. That would keep the pressure on as Ryan and the Jets would likely have to improve -- and possibly make the playoffs -- for him to keep his job.