Valentine Holmes
(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

By adding the NRL’s Valentine Holmes, the New York Jets are one of four teams partaking in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.

Geoff Magliocchetti

With their latest signing, the New York Jets are giving “football” a whole new meaning.

On Monday night, the Jets announced that they will be partaking in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. The team will add Australian Valentine Holmes, best known for his exploits in the National Rugby League, to their practice squad. According to a release on the team website, Holmes is listed as a running back, wide receiver, and kick returner.

Holmes, 23, spent his entire professional rugby career (2014-18) with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. He was listed as a fullback on the Sharks’ roster, earning 369 points, including 55 tries, the five-point rugby equivalent of a touchdown. Holmes also represented Australia at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, leading all try scorers at the tournament with 12. His efforts helped Australia to their 11th World Cup title, defeating England in the final held in his home state of Queensland.

The team explained in their statement that Holmes has prepared for his New York arrival alongside NFL Draft hopefuls with coaches from Florida’s IMG Academy. Included on the staff is former Jets rusher Leon Washington and linebackers coach Jim Herrmann.

With the IPP designation, Holmes will be eligible to be on the Jets’ roster through the end of training camp. The Jets will be permitted to make him the 11th member of their practice squad, but he will be ineligible to be activated during the 2019 season. All four AFC East teams, chosen at random, will be partaking in the program.

This isn’t the first time the Jets have sought help from the world of Australian rugby. Current punter Lachlan Edwards, a fellow Australian from Victoria, partook in the Victorian Football League. Another Victorian, Ben Graham was the Jets’ punter for four seasons (2005-08).

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