Jeremy Kerley

NFL suspends former 49ers wide receiver

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AP

NFL suspends former 49ers wide receiver

NEW YORK -- Jeremy Kerley insists he did nothing wrong to warrant a four-game suspension.

The New York Jets wide receiver-punt returner was banned from the team without pay by the NFL on Monday after the league said Kerley violated its policy on performance-enhancing substances. His suspension begins immediately.

"I was shocked by a positive test for Turinabol, as I have never knowingly taken any banned substances," Kerley said in a statement issued by his representatives .

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Kerley said he has never used steroids in his life.

"I'm a good athlete, but anyone can look at my body composition and tell that I'm not a steroid user," he said.

"While I did not have enough time prior to the deadline to resolve this case, I fully intend to investigate this matter until I am able to figure out what caused the positive test because I know that I have done nothing wrong.

"When I find out what substance was tainted, I will pursue all remedies at that time because this is not right."

Kerley will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Dec. 11, the day after New York plays at Denver. The next game in which Kerley will be able to play will be at New Orleans on Dec. 17.

"I have and will always be a clean player," Kerley added, "and I look forward to returning to the Jets to play against the Saints next month."

Kerley has 22 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown in his second stint with the Jets. He's also averaging 5.3 yards on punt returns.

Coach Todd Bowles said the team knew about the suspension "for quite some time," so it didn't come as a shock to the Jets.

Rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen will see increased roles with Kerley out, and Bowles said the Jets could look into adding another receiver from either the practice squad or by signing a free agent.

"We haven't really met on it yet and talked about it," Bowles said, "but we have some things in mind that we'll put in place and hopefully have it done by Wednesday or Thursday."

The news of Kerley's impending suspension was first reported last week by the New York Daily News. Neither Kerley nor the Jets would comment on the matter until the NFL announced it. He played against Buffalo last Thursday night and had no catches and returned one punt for 3 yards before leaving the Jets' 34-21 victory with a foot injury.

Kerley, 28, was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round out of TCU in 2011. He played his first five seasons with the Jets before being released in 2016. Kerley was signed by Detroit and then traded to San Francisco that summer.

He had a career-high 64 catches for 667 yards and three touchdowns for the 49ers last season, but was released as part of the team's final cuts.

Kerley was re-signed by the Jets on Sept. 5 to add a veteran presence to a young and inexperienced receiving group, and to take over punt return duties.

In other news:

Former 49ers WR: Colin Kaepernick 'deserves' to play in NFL again

Former 49ers WR: Colin Kaepernick 'deserves' to play in NFL again

After taking over for Blaine Gabbert midway through last season, Colin Kaepernick found a favorite target in wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.

Kaepernick took aim at Kerley 68 times and connected 37 times for 345 yards and one touchdown.

A year later, neither is with the 49ers. Kaepernick remains unsigned while Kerley signed with the Jets after being released by San Francisco.

Recently, Kerley spoke to the New York Daily News about whether Kaepernick is being blackballed by the league.

"If I was Colin Kaepernick, if I was in his shoes, I would probably feel like I was being blackballed. But I'm not him. I'm not in his shoes. So, I just think it sucks. It sucks for him, because he's good enough to be on a football team. He can definitely help someone's team being a backup or potentially being a starter. So, I am shocked, definitely," Kerley said.

Kerley addressed the fact that Kaepernick remains unsigned.

"It's a helpless feeling. It's an unfortunate feeling. You almost feel like you're worthless. You know what I mean? At the same time, Colin has a strong mindset. That's one thing I respect about him. He has a strong mindset. I'm pretty sure that he knows that he can play in this league. He knows what he can do. At the end of the day, some stuff is just out of your control. He can't control being on a team right now. It's not like you can just force your way in and be on a team," Kerley said.

"It's unfortunate. I don't necessarily say it's sad. I don't necessarily say it's bad for this person or that person. It's just unfortunate, because I know the dude wants to play football," Kerley added.

Kerley also took to task the theory that Kaepernick remains unsigned because he would be a distraction in whichever locker room he entered.

"Believe it or not, it was no distraction. He caused no distraction. No distraction at all. … Every time he talked to the media, it was almost like he made sure that he kind of did it off to the side. He didn't bring any attention to himself or to the team. I respected him a lot," Kerley said.

When asked if his former teammate will be picked up by an NFL team at some point, Kerley is holding out hope.

"I feel like he deserves it. But it's just crazy how that goes," Kerley said.

Report: Former 49ers wide receiver Kerley returns to Jets

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AP

Report: Former 49ers wide receiver Kerley returns to Jets

Former 49ers receiver Jeremy Kerley reportedly is heading back to the New York Jets.

Kerley, 28, will sign a one-year contract with the Jets, reports ESPN. He spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Jets before the 49ers acquired him last year in a trade with the Detroit Lions. The 49ers sent guard Brandon Thomas to the Lions in August 2016 in exchange for Kerley.

After Kerley led the 49ers last season with a career-high 64 passes for 667 yards and three touchdowns last season, the 49ers' new regime re-signed him to a three-year, $8.4 million contract, including $2.8 million guaranteed, in March.

But the 49ers ended up cutting Kerley on Saturday as part of the roster moves to get to the regular-season limit of 53 players. The six receivers the 49ers kept on their roster – Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor, Victor Bolden and Kendrick Bourne – were acquired after the team re-signed Kerley.