Being a backup has never suited Jeremy Kerley much. But the fifth-year veteran may be headed in that direction.

After Sunday's practice, Jets coach Todd Bowles confirmed that Kerley and second-year receiver Quincy Enunwa are competing for the top slot receiver spot.

And that was news to Kerley.

"I guess I see what it is now," he said Sunday.

Kerley, who signed a four-year, $16-million deal with the Jets last season, has been splitting first-team reps with Enunwa and also has been featured quite a bit with the second-team offense.

Pressed for an explanation for Kerley's slide down the depth chart, Bowles said: "Quincy Enunwa is a bigger guy so you can quasi have another wideout and a blocker at the same time and do some things. We're just looking at it as a different role. It has nothing to do with Kerley."

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But when asked if Kerley is still their No. 1 slot receiver, the coach said: "They're competing for it. Right now, he is, but everybody is competing for it. We'll see when a couple of games happen what happens."

Kerley, a former fifth-round pick, said he's never allowed himself to get complacent or comfortable on an NFL roster, even after signing a multi-year deal last October.

"I always feel like I got to compete, whatever I'm doing," he said. "It's a new coaching staff. I signed my contract under a whole different organization. So the coaches got to get a chance to know me, know what I do. Hopefully get a chance to see what I bring to the table."