Jeremy Kerley wanted to return to the Jets. The receiver, in fact, never wanted to leave.
But Chan Gailey phased him out of the offense, and the Jets cut Kerley in March 2016. With Gailey now retired, and John Morton now running a West Coast system in New York, Kerley called coach Todd Bowles soon after the 49ers released him.
“Chan had his things he wanted to go with, so it’s a better opportunity, I guess, because it’s a different person here,” Kerley said, via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press. “I’m just eager to get started and do what I do.”
Kerley, who caught a career-low 16 passes for 152 yards in 2015 with Gailey as the offensive coordinator, has gone from New York to Detroit to San Francisco and finally back to New York in 18 months.
“Not that he couldn’t play,” Bowles said of the 2015 season. “He just didn’t fit in the scheme we were running. Now that we’re bringing him back in the scheme we’re running, we have a little different game plan on how we want to use the slot receiver, and he fits that role.”
Kerley becomes the team’s most experienced player at the position with 246 catches. The Jets have overhauled the position, parting ways with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and recently trading for Jermaine Kearse.
Kerley is uncertain how much he will play Sunday against the Bills, but after being twice cut and traded once the past 18 months, he’s ready to show he still can play.
“I feel I play good after adversity,” Kerley said. “So maybe I should get let go a lot more.”