We toned down the headline a bit after getting an official response from the NFL that is now the last graph of this story.
Vikings rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin remained absent from the NFL’s rookie symposium on Tuesday because of illness and might have to attend the event next year, according to the NFL Network.
Steve Wyche, reporting for “NFL Total Access” from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., said Harvin wanted to return to the symposium Tuesday but that doctors gave him medicine and told him to remain at home. Wyche said Harvin is concerned about how people will perceive his absence because of the question marks that surrounded his character entering the NFL draft in April.
Harvin had top-10 talent but dropped to the Vikings with the 22nd-overall pick in part because he reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine in February in Indianapolis.
This is not the first time Harvin has dealt with an illness this offseason that has kept him from an NFL-related event. Harvin missed a Vikings rookie camp in early May after becoming so ill during a layover in Atlanta that he was hospitalized. Harvin, who had been traveling from Florida, was suffering from extreme dehydration and a virus. He returned home two days after being admitted to the hospital.
The former University of Florida standout reported for the start of the four-day symposium Sunday afternoon, but the medical staff suggested he return home after he told them he wasn’t feeling well. Harvin and his family live in the Gainesville area. Organizers of the event officially excused Harvin; all 256 draft picks were in attendance on Sunday, according to symposium officials.
The symposium focuses on helping rookies adjust to life in the NFL by bringing in guest speakers and experts in a number of different areas to discuss various issues. It is something the league takes very seriously. In fact, Wyche said it is taken so seriously that his understanding is that Harvin will have to attend next year’s symposium with the incoming rookie class despite the fact he will have been in the league for a year.
In an e-mail to the Star Tribune on the subject, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “[Harvin] was excused. Players who are excused are expected to make up the material presented. That may involve attendance at the following year’s symposium.”