When Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle in March, Yahoo! Sports reported that it was a culmination of things, but the straw that essentially broke the camel's back was Harvin's complaints about quarterback Christian Ponder 'not being good enough'. Never mind he was leading the NFC in catches with 62 when he was injured in week nine and put on IR.
Also, something something 10-6, four game win streak to end the season, 5-2 without Harvin, playoffs something something. At the time, Ponder stayed above the fray, saying nothing but good things about Harvin and the situation:
The thing is, there’s no quote strictly from Percy that he was the one saying it," Ponder said. "I haven’t put too much thought into it. If that was his opinion, that’s unfortunate. But he’s a Seahawk now, so it doesn’t really matter.
Pretty magnanimous, all things considered. However, at Harvin's introductory press conference, Harvin seemed to confirm the Yahoo! report, without coming out and really, you know, confirming it:
I’m very blessed to know that this doesn’t come around often to play with an up and coming quarterback like Russell, who guys are comparing preparation-wise to Brett Favre. When I hear that, and hear people comparing him to Brett Favre, I listen. So seeing this opportunity, I’m very, very, very grateful.
Ouch. When you say that Wilson is an up and coming quarterback who compares to Brett Favre, and don't mention the young QB you just left in Minnesota, you're pretty much saying that Ponder isn't said up and coming quarterback.
Still, Ponder didn't really say anything more about it, until a few days ago. When asked about the off-season changes, I would like to think he gave Harvin the same back handed treatment Harvin gave him:
The big thing with Greg (Jennings), who's obviously a great player, is he also provides that leadership. I think he's a true pro. He can show these young guys what it takes in this league. I think we have a good dynamic. Everyone has come and shown up to work. It will be good to get these rookies in this weekend. The dynamic has changed, but I think it's good.
Heh. Now, could he just be talking specifically about what Jennings brings to the table? Sure, but I personally found it interesting that he used the the phrase 'provides leadership', and about showing up for work, because of Harvin's conspicuous absence from the team after he went on IR.
The NFL is a tough job, and the quarterback position is even that much tougher. As a quarterback, it's a fine line to walk between leader and whiner, and a misstep can be fatal, for his team, his ability to lead the team, and their career in general.
In this instance, Ponder navigated the minefield well. Now, go navigate the NFC North just as well.