By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
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