Living in a hotel room, his future uncertain, Valentine Holmes has opened up about the hardship and challenges of trying to crack a career in the NFL.
And it’s not as glamorous as sports fans may think.
“It’s pretty cut-throat at the moment so no one really knows how long you’re going to be at a club,” Holmes told AAP in the New York Jets locker-room after their 28-13 pre-season loss to New Orleans in which the former NRL star received barely a minute to showcase his exceptional talents.
After sacrificing a guaranteed $15,000-a-week pay cheque in rugby league, the daring code-hopper is fighting to gain a spot on the Jets’ 53-man squad for the 2019-20 NFL season.
He’s more likely to end up in the Jets’ practice squad and have to wait another year to fulfil his NFL dream.
But humble Holmes is taking it all in his stride.
“Just taking it day by day,” he said.
“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can as quick as I can and give myself the best opportunity to keep going.”
Holmes’ wife Natalia moved from Townsville to New York this month to join her man but Cronulla’s 2016 premiership winner dismissed talk the couple are living the high life and buying up in Manhattan.
“We’re just staying in a hotel just because, once again, we don’t know what we’re doing,” Holmes said.
“We’ll see how these next couple of games go and see if I’ve made the cut or whatever and then we’ll decide from there.
“But definitely she was excited to come over and I’m excited to have her here.”
Holmes is happy to have the support, revealing the intense pressure of trying to break into one of the highest-profile sporting codes in the world wasn’t easy.
“You’ve got to be the best athlete that you can be every day,” he said.
“You’ve got to be consistent in everything you do, whether it’s looking after your body, showing up consistently; training and the game.
“Just everything you do, everyone’s watching. There’s a lot of eyes on you.
“So to be able to do that consistently is quite tough and obviously everyone (else) knows the playbook and I’m learning that. Coming from rugby league, it’s a bit different.
“Yeah, I’ve probably got the most challenges, I’d say.”
The record-setting former Australian Test and Queensland State of Origin star will know on Saturday, after the Jets’ final pre-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, if he’s made the cut for next season or not.
That’s when NFL teams slash their pre-season rosters from around 90 to 53.
The Jets’ first regular season game is against the Buffalo Bills on September 8.
Either way, the 24-year-old is “definitely” proud to have achieved what he already has since making his shock career move last October.
“I’ve played in three NFL games so I’m pretty happy about that,” he said.
“Not many people can say that so, whatever the outcome is, I’m proud of what I’ve done.”