Kerley ready to replace Mason

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
7:07
PM ET
Jeremy Kerley found out about the Derrick Mason trade Tuesday night on Twitter. He didn't believe it -- until he got a call from GM Mike Tannenbaum, confirming Mason's trade to the Texans.

It means Kerley, promoted last week to the No. 3 WR position, is locked into his new role. Is he ready?

"Definitely," the fifth-round pick from TCU said. "Camp was tough and I got through that and I feel like it helped me out. I’m definitely ready."

Kerley played 18 snaps in last Sunday's loss to the Patriots, catching all three balls that were thrown his way. He totaled 35 yards, including a touchdown catch.

Now he will work primarily as the slot receiver, replacing Mason in three-receiver packages. Kerley (5-for-9, 188 pounds), who also doubles as the punt returner, was one of the stars in training camp. He leveled off in the preseason games, but he has impressed the coaches in recent practices, according to Rex Ryan.

"It was hard to ignore," said Ryan, claiming Kerley's emergence -- not Mason's alleged clubhouse lawyering -- was the main reason for the trade.

Said Tannenbaum: "We're a merit-based organization. When you deserve to play, we want to get you out there. Hopefully, that's the message that comes out of this."

Kerley doesn't seem intimidated by the challenge.

"Like I’ve always said, this is a game and it’s the game of football," he said. "It’s something we wake up and we love to play every day. So I just try to go out there and have that in the back of my mind. When things get tough, when things get hard, that’s the first thing I think about, just having fun, playing the game."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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