Valentine Holmes
AAP Photo

Australian rugby star Valentine Holmes currently looking to impress coaches and fans of the New York Jets.

In April of this year, the New York Jets signed Valentine Holmes, an Australia rugby star. New York brought him in to be a return specialist. The Jets signed him via the NFL‘s International Player Pathway Program. This will have Holmes on the roster until the end of training camp, where he then could be selected to the practice squad. The Jets can’t activate him for 2019, but he can still work towards a contract for the future.

Thus far in his journey in the NFL, it didn’t hit Holmes that he was starting a new profession until he got the pads on.

“To wear the full suit — the tight pants, the jersey, the pads and the helmet — it was pretty cool,” Holmes said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “To see my name on the back of a New York Jets jersey, that was pretty cool, too. It’s something I’ll hold close.”

Holmes left Australia to join the NFL despite having been a star in rugby. Why would he do that? Well, Holmes likes to set goals for himself, regardless of what it is.

“I feel like I want to challenge myself as a person and as a player and as an athlete,” Holmes said. “There’s no better way than to compete over here in America in the NFL. It’s the pinnacle of sport in America. I’ve always been watching it since I’ve been in high school. The opportunity arose for me and I was toward the end of a contract at that time, and I kind of fell into it. There were a couple of clubs that were keen on me and wanted to get me over for a tryout.”

Holmes will do what he can throughout training camp in order to make the practice squad. From there, he’ll be one step closer to receiving a future contract for 2020.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.