In roughly four days, we will find out if Valentine Holmes learned as much as he claims from his year spent in the U.S. trying to get a job with an NFL team.
Holmes was taken by the New York Jets, the NFL relative equivalent to the North Queensland or St. George clubs of the NRL, so it was not as though Holmes was trying to get on with top playoff clubs.
Yet, he found that unlike rugby league, where he is one of the best, with the Jets in the NFL, he barely got a sniff. He played four preseason games, but could not make the Jets’ roster for when the season began in earnest.
Holmes spoke of the cruel reality of the NFL recently when talking to reporters ahead of his run out for North Queensland in Townsville when the Cows play the Brisbane Broncos.
“My first few months there, in the first three weeks I had three different roomies because they kept getting cut. It’s sad but it’s the way it is,” Holmes said.
Holmes hope the experience gained from his failed attempt to make the profound hop from league to gridiron supplies him with some perspective going into the Telstra 2020 NRL Premiership competition.
“I liked the challenge of it. It brought me back down a bit and it’s good because the guys over there didn’t know who I was so I could just walk around and be myself and do whatever I want, go to a normal cafe and not get looked at or stared at,” Holmes noted.
Holmes praised the effort and organisation of the NFL, and the players who routinely dealt with the prospect of showing up for work one morning and discovering they no longer had jobs.
“Mentally I don’t know how they do it, because it’s very cutthroat. They know they have to pay attention, they have to know what they’re doing on the field or otherwise they will get rid of you and get someone else in.”
Score tries Valentine. Elsewise, North Queensland will be doing the off-loading, hoping to find an NRL club willing to foot the cost of a six-year deal.