Holmes’ shift to keep NFL dream alive
VALENTINE Holmes remains focused on breaking into the New York Jets' 53-man roster and may do so as a wide-receiver.
However the former NRL star hasn't ruled out returning to Australia next year and playing for the Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys or Brisbane Broncos.
Holmes says he is still enjoying learning the intricacies of the NFL on the Jets' practice squad despite sitting out games.
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The 24-year-old will not make a decision on his future until their season ends, which, after a horror four loss-no win start, could be December 29 if they miss the play-offs.
"My head is here in the US," he said on Thursday.
"That is what I'm focused on.
"It's only early in the season and I want to push myself to get an opportunity but if it doesn't work out or I'm not good enough there's decisions to be made."
Holmes's chance of being elevated to the 53-man roster and playing games recently rose with head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas identifying him as a wide-receiver.
They originally pegged him as a running back but now have him working with Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas and the team's other receivers.
If the Jets' poor season continues Gase and Douglas may be inclined to blood project players like him in games.
"There's quite good running backs here at the Jets so I think that's why they moved me because obviously I can catch the ball and run," Holmes said.
"In the pre-season games I was getting outside in the receiver positions and catching balls."
The Jets, with the return of star quarterback Sam Darnold after missing three games with mononucleosis, are aiming to get their first win of the season when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.
As a practice team member, Holmes's job this week has been to mimic Cowboys players, including star wide-receiver Amari Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott against the Jets' 53-man roster.
"We don't know their exact playbook but we try to mimic plays they have ran against teams previously and try to give our team the best looks," he said.
Holmes and wife Natalia have an apartment in New Jersey near the Jets' stadium and practice facilities but spend plenty of time across the Hudson River in Manhattan.
Holmes, who knocked back a $5 million contract last year to stay with the Sharks, will incite a bidding frenzy if he chooses to return to rugby league.
The Sharks, his hometown Cowboys and the Broncos are possible landing spots.
"Cronulla is what I'm used to and I have an apartment there and my mates are still there, my wife and myself are from Townsville and I'm mates with pretty much all of the Brisbane guys," Holmes said.
"It's obviously good to have some decisions and teams that are keen for me but we haven't made a decision yet.
"My wife and myself are happy where we are now and being able to live in New York City at the age of 24.
"Not many people can say that."