Cronulla and Queensland Maroons winger Valentine Holmes is one step closer to achieving his dream of playing in the NFL, after the Sharks granted the player an immediate release from his contract.
According to Fox Sports, the Sharks have released a statement, which reads;
“This news brings great disappointment to the Cronulla Sharks who have worked hard to re-sign Holmes to a five-year extension, which would have made him the highest paid player in the Club’s history,”
Also according to Fox, if Holmes fails to land a contract while in the US, he will only be allowed to play for Cronulla if he returns to the NRL.
Rumours of a move to the US were first reported by the The Daily Telegraph’s Phil “Buzz” Rothfield, in the midst of intense contract negotiations between Holmes, the Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys as to his playing future.
Holmes reportedly unsuccessfully trialled for the NFL in 2016, roughly a year after Jarryd Hayne’s unsuccessful eight-game stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hayne was easily the most high-profile Australian in the NFL, after he left rugby league at the height of his powers in 2015. He was released halfway through his debut season, however, after fumbling three times in eight matches.
There are currently six Australian athletes on NFL rosters right now, Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles) and Michael Dickson (Seattle Seahawks) both being drafted earlier this year, while Cameron Johnson (Eagles), Adam Gotsis (Denver Broncos), Lachlan Edwards (New York Jets) and Jordan Berry (Pittsburgh Steelers) are all in the league.
Ex-AFL players have typically been the most successful in the NFL, however, with Darren Bennett, Mat McBriar and Saverio Rocca all enjoying careers of 100 games or more, while Ben Graham played 99 matches as a punter in the mid-2000s.