Valentine Holmes has been invited to join the NFL’s New York Jets.
- Former Cronulla and Queensland State of Origin star Valentine Holmes will join the NY Jets in the NFL
- Holmes is one of four players named in the NFL’s International Pathway program
- He will take a spot on the Jets’ practice squad while he learns the game but will not be able to play in 2019
The former NRL star, who walked away from a $5 million contract with Cronulla, will share a locker room with star running back Le’Veon Bell and quarterback Sam Darnold at the New Jersey-based Jets.
Holmes will also continue a strong Australian tradition at the team.
The Jets’ punter is Mornington Peninsula-raised Lachlan Edwards.
Geelong AFL great-turned punter Ben Graham was a member of the Jets from 2005 to 2008 while another Victorian, Tom Hackett, a two-time Ray Guy Award winner, trialled with the team in 2016.
Holmes is a big fan of the Jets’ cross-town rivals, the New York Giants.
“The Giants are my favourite team and it would be amazing to play with them, but I would be pleased to play with any team,” Holmes said last week.
The NFL announced on Monday Holmes and other elite athletes in the International Pathway Program had been allocated to teams in the AFC East division — the Jets, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
Holmes has a number of possible roles. He has been listed as RB/WR/KR — as running back and wide receiver on offence, and as a kick returner on special teams.
British rugby union speedster Christian Wade will join the Bills.
Brazilian judo champion Durval Neto was picked up by the Miami Dolphins and German tight end Jakob Johnson will go with Super Bowl champions the Patriots.
Pathway players become members of team’s practice squads and will not be eligible to play games.
The program is designed to give elite athletes with little American football knowledge a chance to insert themselves into an NFL team and learn the game without the pressure of being cut.
Pathway players are added to their team’s roster, however, until the end of training camp — the Jets will begin their camp on July 24. If Holmes makes a big impression, there is a chance he could be retained on the roster when it is cut down to 53 on August 31.
If he doesn’t make the cut, then he would be added to the practice squad, from which he could not be cut — but would be ineligible to play for the rest of the season.
Holmes will be hit with a significant pay cut from his NRL days.
Pathway players on NFL practice squads earn about $US129,200 ($A181,500) per season.
Holmes, the former Cronulla, Queensland and Australian representative full-back, and the other Pathway players spent the past three months at Florida’s IMG Academy learning how to train and play American football.
Wade was part of the British Lions squad that toured Australia in 2013.
A year ago South Sydney junior Jordan Mailata, a Pathway graduate, was taken in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He is yet to play in any regular-season games for Philadelphia.
Holmes, 23, said last week he did not believe he was eligible for the draft because of his age.
Holmes participated in a “pro day” in Tampa Bay last week in front of NFL scouts and clocked 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Topics: sport, other-sports, american-football, rugby-league, nrl, united-states, cronulla-2230, sydney-2000, nsw, australia
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