CORTLAND -- Jeremy Kerley's voice was barely audible against the Central New York breeze. His sentences were clipped, and understandably so.
But as he discussed his quick descent into Rex Ryan’s doghouse, one word kept coming to mind.
Kerley's latest setback came as no surprise to him, considering he's battled hamstring injuries since he was a wide receiver at TCU. But when Ryan openly expressed disappointment and threatened to take away the slot receiver's job, Kerley knew he had only one option.
"Just motivation. That's how I take it," he said.
Ryan – known for touting his players, sometimes to a fault – called out Kerley in his afternoon press conference Saturday after the receiver spent the entire practice on the sidelines. Ryan said the injury likely would sideline him for a week.
"I hope so," Kerley said softly, referring to his estimated return.
Ryan spoke to the wide receiver after Saturday's practice and expressed his frustration. "When I got hurt, we had a conversation on the field and he said he was a little disappointed in me," said Kerley. "He just wants me to get back on the field. And I want to get back on the field myself."
"It's hard but that's where the training room comes into play. I won't step back on the field until I'm back 100 percent."
Asked why he thinks Ryan would criticize him publicly, Kerley simply said: "I don't know why he would say it, but I'm going to take it as motivation."