Here’s a name that Washington Football Team fans might still have in the back of their minds: Kelvin Harmon.
Washington drafted Harmon in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of NC State. In his rookie 2019 campaign, he appeared in all 16 games for WFT, catching 30 passes for 365 yards. After a solid first year, he was poised for a break-out season in 2020, but tore his ACL while training in June and was sidelined for the season.
Undergoing surgery for his ACL and LCL in July, Harmon has been in the recovery process ever since but says that a positive mindset is one way he plowed through several months of grueling rehab.
“I tried to make it into a positive because obviously there was nothing I could do. Complaining isn't going to do anything, it's not going to bring my knee back, but putting in that work is going to do that,” Harmon told Washington team writers on Thursday.
Still, what motivated Harmon wasn’t just the desire to get back on the field—it was also seeing head coach Ron Rivera’s battle with cancer. Diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in August of 2020, Rivera constantly had to go through chemotherapy while manning the ship for the team. He occasionally would even have to receive IV treatments at halftime of games.
“I was able to talk to him a lot when I saw him throughout the building,” Harmon said. “[We] always spoke to each other and always encouraged one another because he was going through his time, too. I think it was very motivating in a sense knowing what he went through, and he motivated the whole team, so we could definitely relate to each other in that sense. Obviously, his was by far way worse than mine, but just as far as overcoming that adversity throughout the season, I think that's something that we could kind of relate to.”
Exercise bikes, treadmills, workout pools, and later speed ladders became part of Kelvin’s daily routine. Despite not being able to suit up, Harmon did everything possible to remain a key member of Washington’s young and exciting receiving corps, including attending team meetings.
“My main focus, for the most part, was my rehab, but also staying in the mix, too, so I could still be familiar with the team and still be involved with that chemistry and that camaraderie,” Harmon said.
With so many young, promising WRs competing for reps with Washington, Harmon knows he needs to focus 100% on his rehabilitation before hitting the field again. Even so, Harmon is excited about working with the likes of Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims and others when it comes time to get back to training camp.
“Steel sharpens steel…and the best man is going to be out there. It's a very competitive room.”