ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions have many players, along with their general manager and coach, with ties to the New England Patriots.
Jermaine Kearse, in a sense, is no exception.
The veteran receiver had one of the most memorable catches in a Super Bowl in 2016 while playing for the Seattle Seahawks against New England when Matt Patricia was its defensive coordinator.
He made a 33-yard acrobatic catch after the ball bounced off his body four times with 1:06 left to put Seattle in position for a go-ahead touchdown, but the Patriots held on to win.
“Kind of joked about it a little bit, but quickly moved on,” said Patricia, who in his second season as Detroit’s coach. “Great, little tie-in to our history together, which is fun.”
Kearse has 255 career catches for 3,290 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he’s coming his worst season since 2013. He had 37 receptions for 371 yards last year for the New York Jets.
“It was just an unfortunate year,” Kearse said. “We had some changes and things just didn’t work out. I’m ready to just move and be able to get back on the field and show what I can do and what I did two years ago.”
With the Jets in 2017, Kearse reached career highs in catches (65) and yards receiving (810) while matching his best season with five touchdowns.
The former Washington star earned a spot on Seattle’s team as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and started 51 games for the franchise under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who is in his first season with the Lions.
“Looking over the playbook just kind of refreshed my memory,” Kearse said. “A lot of things I’m able to pick up pretty quickly.”
The Lions addressed a need earlier in the offseason, signing Danny Amendola, to become the slot receiver they missed after trading Golden Tate during last season to Philadelphia. On the third and final day of mandatory minicamp, they added depth by signing Kearse and releasing Jordan Smallwood.
If Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones can bounce back from injury-shortened seasons, Matthew Stafford may have four solid options to throw to at wide receiver thanks to the addition of Kearse.
“He’s played a lot of meaningful football in this league and has done some really great things,” Stafford said. “He has some history with Bevell. I was on the same page sometimes with him and not on the same page other times. It was our first practice. He was just thrown in there and was rolling with it.”
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