Jeremy Kerley flew to the Bay Area on Sunday night, was issued uniform No. 14 on Monday morning and was catching passes from the 49ers’ quarterbacks by 11 a.m.
That whirlwind comes just months after the 27-year-old wide receiver signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Kerley spent his first five years in the league with the New York Jets.
“I still catch myself saying ‘New York’ to my kids,” he said in front of his new locker Monday.
Kerley struggled to see playing time in a Lions offense that also features wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Consequently, the Lions traded Kerley to the 49ers for offensive lineman Brandon Thomas on Sunday.
Kerley shouldn’t have trouble getting snaps with the 49ers. One of their slot receivers, Bruce Ellington, is dealing with a hamstring injury that likely will last into the regular season. Another, rookie Bryce Treggs, has a knee sprain that has kept him out of practice.
The only other player at the position is DeAndrew White.
“Jeremy gives us some depth as a slot receiver,” offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said. “He’s played a lot of football in this league as a slot. He also gives us some versatility as a returner, so he’s added depth that we really need, and I think he’ll be able to get caught up to speed fairly quickly.”
Modkins noted he coached Kerley at the 2011 Senior Bowl when the receiver was coming out of TCU and the coach was an assistant with the Buffalo Bills.
“So I’m kind of familiar with what his skill set is and look forward to seeing it,” he said.
White, Kerley, running back Shaun Draughn and receiver Ryan Whalen took turns handling punts Monday.
Tank movement – Veteran outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks didn’t play Friday against the Green Bay Packers because the 49ers’ coaches wanted to take a longer look at the team’s younger players at the position, especially Tank Carradine.
Carradine played along the defensive line his first three seasons in the league, bulking up to 305 pounds. He’s down to 275 pounds – close to his college weight – and playing a position that better suits his talents.
Carradine played 39 snaps Friday and finished with two tackles, two quarterback hits and a sack.
“Tank has taken to the position well,” coach Chip Kelly said on KNBR radio Monday. “He’s a big, physical player who at times is a mismatch in the run games for some tight ends because he’s just such a physical player.”
Starting outside linebacker Aaron Lynch has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Et cetera – Left tackle Joe Staley sat out Monday’s practice but not because of an injury. “I think it’s because I’m 32 (Tuesday),” he said. Colin Kelly filled in at left tackle during practice. Erik Pears, Staley’s backup throughout training camp, was released Monday.
▪ Running back Carlos Hyde (concussion) did not practice. Neither did Ellington (hamstring) and defensive lineman Quinton Dial, who wore a brace on his left knee.
▪ The 49ers have 77 players on their roster. They must be down to 75 by Tuesday at 1 p.m.