Kerley played under Gailey with the New York Jets in 2015. It was his worst season as a pro as Kerley caught just 16 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns with the Jets.
Coming off of arguable his best season, Kerley didn’t bother to blunt his opinion on his former offensive coordinator during an interview with Alex Marvez and Phil Savage on Sirius XM NFL Radio.
“What changed a lot for me was in my fifth year, in New York, somebody telling me that, for whatever the reason was, I wasn’t good enough to play in that offense or I wasn’t a fit for that offense,” Kerley said. “And even though I knew I was, it still pissed me off to the point where I was just like, you know, what can I do to try to separate myself or stand out more. And I think, just from that point on and 2015 was by far my worst year in the league. I absolutely hated the NFL. I wasn’t getting any playing time at receiver; I was just strictly punt return. Me and Chan Gailey were always … we didn’t see eye-to-eye. I didn’t have a lot of respect for him. It was probably the same for him.”
Gailey was hired to serve as offensive coordinator after Todd Bowles was brought in to replace Rex Ryan as head coach. Gailey served in the role the last two seasons before retiring at the end of the year. Unsurprisingly, Kerley lasted just one season playing in Gailey’s offense before moving on to the 49ers last year (after a brief stop in Detroit).
“Chan was just one of those type of guys that he has his mind set up before he sees whoever’s there,” Kerley said. “I mean, he just wasn’t a fit for me, so when we came in it was kind of like, I had just signed a four-year, $16-million extension. So I’m assuming this is my time, I’m going to play or I get to maximize my play. And it was the exact opposite. I can’t speak highly of a guy who never really let me have an opportunity to prove. And then the fact that he would always bring in guys that were my same height or my same size after guys went down or whatever happened, it brought me to believe that maybe he just doesn’t really like me.
“For whatever the reason was, I just feel like we were going to bump heads after that. I don’t say this about a lot of people, but I don’t really have a lot of respect for that and how that situation went.”
Kerley ended up in a much better situation with the 49ers. He caught a career-high 64 passes for 667 yards and three touchdowns last year for San Francisco. The three touchdowns matched a career-high. The showing earned his a new three-year deal with the 49ers this offseason.