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Percy Harvin informs Buffalo Bills he's retiring

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After wrestling with the decision for months, Percy Harvin is walking away from football.

The free-agent wide receiver has informed the Buffalo Bills of his decision to retire, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of Harvin's thinking.

Frustrated with a chronic hip injury, Harvin began entertaining thoughts of retirement when the Bills placed him on injured reserve last November.

By the middle of last month, Bills general manager Doug Whaley was operating under the assumption that Harvin was leaning toward playing again in 2016. A source close to the 27-year-old wideout even told Rapoport that Harvin was "definitely planning to play" and at least three teams had expressed interest in his services.

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It comes as no surprise that one of the NFL's most talented yet volatile and unpredictable players of the past half-decade has vacillated on his career plans.

Harvin's frustratingly brief career is a testament to how much can change in one NFL calendar year.

He exploded on the scene in 2009, capturing NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors as the league's most explosive kickoff returner and Brett Favre's safety valve in the slot.

A wide receiver-running back hybrid and one of the NFL's most physical skill-position players, Harvin emerged as a dual-threat playmaker while battling migraines over the next two seasons.

Enjoying a career year as the most effective after-catch threat in the game, Harvin was tied for the NFL lead in receptions, first in YAC, second in kickoff return average and second in receiving yards when an ankle injury prematurely ended his 2012 season in early November.

Although Harvin was in line for a lucrative new contract the next offseason, the Vikings deemed him too risky following heated exchanges with two different head coaches in a three-year span. Five months after joining the MVP conversation despite playing in Adrian Peterson's shadow, Harvin was shipped to the Seahawks for first-, third- and seventh-round draft picks.

At the time, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell hailed the Harvin acquisition as "a movable chess piece that advances the continuing evolution of NFL offense" in Seattle.

One of the NFL's model franchises thought so highly of Harvin that they committed to a six-year, $67 million contract, making him one of the league's highest-paid players.

After playing just 20 snaps in his Seattle debut season, Harvin waltzed into Super Bowl XLVIII and nearly walked away with Malcolm Smith's MVP award after generating 137 electric yards on his first four touches.

Seven months later the Seahawks shocked the football world, trading Harvin on the cheap following multiple altercations with teammates.

Harvin was impressive enough in an eight-game audition with the Jets that the organization seriously contemplated exercising his $10.5 million option for 2015.

Settling for a one-year, $6 million deal in Buffalo, Harvin was outplaying the more ballyhooed Sammy Watkins when nagging hip pain brought another season to a halt.

If this is the end of the line, Harvin will be remembered as one of the great "what might have beens" of his generation.

He never developed as as an intricate NFL route runner, missed extensive time to injuries and wore out his welcome with two different franchises. On the flip side, he was a unique playmaker capable of breaking a game wide open every time he touched the ball.

As former teammate Sidney Rice once put it, "the league has never seen a player like Percy Harvin."

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