Bitter division rivals New England Patriots and New York Jets face off for the 125th time this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. It’s the first…
Valentine Holmes has signed on to New York Jets’ practice squad despite at least five eager NRL teams calling his manager to check if he might be returning to Australia.
The Jets cut Holmes on Saturday while slashing their roster from 90 players to 53, sparking the flurry of interest from NRL clubs.
Holmes, however, is keen to keep his NFL dream alive and on Sunday agreed to join the Jets’ practice squad.
He will train with the team but not play games.
The 24-year-old’s manager Chris Orr said the time will come when Holmes will have to make a decision on whether to fully commit to the NFL or rugby league.
“At some stage he will need to make a decision about his long-term future,” Orr, director of Pacific Sports Management, told AAP.
“Is it NFL or is it NRL?
“If it’s NRL then he will have a line up of clubs chasing his signature with more then five already making contact in the past 24 hours seeking Val’s position following the news he did not make the 53.”
Holmes will earn about $US136,000 ($A202,000) on the Jets’ practice squad.
It is a significant pay cut from the five-year, $A5 million contract Cronulla offered Holmes before he left for New York and what other NRL teams would be willing to pay.
Holmes’s stellar NRL career meant he had achieved almost every milestone at the age of 22 – with a grand final win with the Sharks, State of Origin success with Queensland and representing Australia.
He does not want to live with regrets and will give the NFL his best attempt.
Holmes is also young enough to return to the NRL if his American goal is not realised.
The Jets used Holmes sparingly during their four pre-season games the past month but Holmes still exhibited his deft hands and speed with eight receptions for 85 yards, including a long of 27 on Thursday against Philadelphia Eagles.
“Witnessing Valentine compete on the NFL field recently at MetLife Stadium against the Eagles gave me confidence he could make it in the NFL long term as he didn’t look out of place at all and performed extremely well,” Orr said.
Holmes will take up the Jets’ 11th practice squad position.
NFL teams are usually restricted to 10 practice squad spots but the Jets and three other NFL teams this season are participating in the International Pathway program designed to recruit elite non-US athletes.
Regular practice squad players across the league can be signed by rival teams, but the 11th Pathway spot players are off limits.
The Jets open their regular season against the Buffalo Bills on September 8.