The New York Jets are going outside the sport of American football to find difference-makers for the 2019 season, using a new NFL program to land an Australian rugby star.
The Jets were assigned rugby star Valentine Holmes as a part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. Coming from Australia’s National Rugby League, Holmes is apart of the NFL’s effort to integrate players from outside the United States into the league:
We've added Valentine Holmes as part of the @NFL's International Player Pathway program.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 8, 2019
Each team out of the AFC East received an international player to their offseason roster as an 11th practice squad player. At 23 years of age, Holmes is listed as a kick returner, running back and receiver. He spent three months training with NFL players in Florida, alongside former Jets position coaches.
Holmes is new to American football, but no stranger to the bright lights. He signed his first rugby contract at 17 with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. After two years of training, Holmes made his professional debut at winger and fullback with the Sharks. In the 2017 Rugby World Cup, Holmes scored eleven tries for Australia.
Holmes brings grit to the Jets offseason roster, along with versatility on offense and special teams. Since this offseason is all about surrounding Sam Darnold with as much help as possible, both in terms of improved protection up front and added weapons who can make plays on every down, leaving no stone unturned is an ideal approach. Here’s hoping Holmes can give the Jets offense yet another spark.
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