Despite pain, Harvin gains


Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 1:55 a.m.

MIAMI Like after most games, Florida junior receiver Percy Harvin made his way gingerly through the locker room, favoring a right ankle that has bothered him on an off throughout his career.

"It's a little painful," Harvin said with a smile. "But when you win a national championship, it's all good."

Rumors circulated hours before kickoff that Harvin had re-tweaked his ankle in practice. That led to speculation about how much, or if, Harvin would be available for Thursday night BCS title game against Oklahoma.

Harvin clearly wasn't 100 percent, but his 70 or 80 percent was enough to lift the Gators to their second BCS title in three seasons.

"Any time someone sees me limp or kind of go off the side they think I tweaked it," said Harvin, who sat out Florida's Southeastern Conference title win over Alabama last month. "I was dealing with soreness or pain the whole time so it was nothing new."

With Florida and Oklahoma tied at 14 early in the fourth quarter, Harvin came up with two huge runs, a 52-yard carry followed by a 12-yard carry during Florida's go-ahead 68-yard scoring fourth-quarter drive. The drive ended with a 27-yard Jonathan Phillips that put the Gators ahead 17-14.

On the first run, Harvin appeared favored his ankle, suggesting that the heel and ankle problems that the speedy junior had endured all season weren't completely behind him.

Harvin put Florida ahead 14-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run off a direct snap in the third quarter. For the game, he finished with 122 yards rushing and 49 more yards receiving on 14 touches (nine carries, five catches).

Was it Harvin's last game in a Florida uniform? More rumors have swirled that Harvin, a projected first-round pick, will declare for the NFL draft in the coming weeks.

"I haven't made that decision yet," Harvin said. "Right now I'm just going to celebrate, go home with my teammates and I'll get with my family and coaches later on and make that decision."

If Harvin does, two national titles in three years isn't a bad way to end a college career.

"We feel we're a dynasty," Harvin said. "We've got a great team coming back so we'll get to the drawing board and try to prepare."

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