Valentine Holmes is sitting in a hallway inside the Jets’ education center, going more than his path to the NFL when the former Australian Rugby League star gets tripped up by which division he now is in.
“We came to the Eastern … what conference is this?” Holmes asks.
He is reminded it is the AFC East.
“The AFC East, appropriate,” Holmes says.
Mastering the league’s divisions is just 1 compact step in Holmes’ assimilation into NFL life. The 23-year-old left his life as a star fullback/winger for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to pursue his dream of generating it in the NFL.
He is element of the league’s International Player Pathway Plan, which assists foreign players enter the league. Holmes spent 3 months education at IMG Academy in Florida with other players from the plan and existing NFL players. In April, he was assigned to the Jets as the AFC East was selected at random for every single group to get 1 player from the plan. He will stay on the roster till the finish of education camp and is then eligible for a practice-squad exemption. The Jets would get an added practice-squad spot, exactly where he could invest the year and study the game.
Holmes spent the spring going by way of OTAs and minicamps with the Jets. He is operating primarily as a operating back with a small time at wide receiver. He also is attempting to come across a function on unique teams, possibly as a kick returner.
“Physically, it wasn’t poor,” Holmes stated. “It was just far more the installs and finding out the plays and just getting in meetings and attempting to try to remember what we had to do with protections, runs, getting routes and then unique teams stuff, as properly. There’s a lot of stuff to try to remember. There’s a lot of studying to do. Back house, I didn’t want to study. I type of knew what I was performing.”
Back house, Holmes produced significant news when he decided to leave rugby for the NFL. He had began playing professionally at 17 and represented Australia in the Globe Cup. He was generating the equivalent of $720,000. He would make $129,000 on the practice squad.
“He was a stud,” stated Jets punter Lachlan Edwards, who is also from Australia. “There’s no other way to place it. Let’s hope he can make an influence more than right here.”
Holmes has a really slim opportunity of essentially generating the 53-man roster. He also has been slowed by some tightness in his back that has kept him out of some education camp practices.
There has been speculation in the Australian media that Holmes is just killing time till he can turn into a rugby league free of charge agent subsequent year, but Holmes says he definitely desires to play in the NFL.
“Obviously, I am attempting to make this a extended-term factor,” Holmes stated. “That’s why I came more than and gave up what I had. Every person knows how cutthroat this sport is. One particular slight error and you could be gone the subsequent day. I’m just taking it day by day at the moment and not pondering about extended-term stuff.”
At six-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Holmes has the size — and speed — to play operating back. His very best shot at generating it, although, may well be as a kick returner. As a fullback in rugby league, he required comparable abilities as kick returners do.
Larry Kirksey, a longtime receivers coach in the NFL, worked with Holmes at IMG in the winter. He worked with Holmes as a slot receiver. Former NFL player Earnest Byner worked with him as a operating back. Kirksey stated he was impressed with Holmes’ hands and his capability to choose up factors immediately.
“I believe far more than something else is you are going to see he has toughness and need,” Kirksey stated. “It’s a distinctive game with pads and it is a small far more volatile but I believe the footwork is really comparable to the game of football.”
Holmes says wearing pads and a helmet did take a though to get utilized to. Now, he feels acclimated. He also stated he feels like “one of the boys” about his teammates and stated he is selecting factors up from fellow operating backs Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery and Bilal Powell every single day.
Holmes hopes to get some playing time subsequent week when the preseason opens against the Giants and his targets for camp are easy.
“Just to remain on the field as extended as I can,” Holmes stated. “I want to play as a lot of positions as I can on the field on unique teams. I’m attempting to get on the field as a lot as I can and show the coaches and absolutely everyone what I can do. That is what I’m constantly pondering about at the moment.”