Holmes ready to show what he can do in NFL
Valentine Holmes is set to play his first NFL game next week when the New York Jets take on cross-town rivals the New York Giants in their opening pre-season game.
The Jets are likely to rest or give limited game time to their stars in the four pre-season games to reduce the chances of injuries, providing the former Cronulla Sharks ace and other fringe players opportunities to force their way into the 53-man roster for the regular season that starts on September 8.
Jarryd Hayne forced the San Francisco 49ers to include him in their 53-man squad in 2015 after some startling pre-season games.
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"I'm trying to get on the field as much as I can and show the coaches and everyone what I can do," Holmes, describing his mindset, told the New York Post.
"That's what I'm always thinking about at the moment."
NFL teams must slash their pre-season rosters from around 90 players to 53 for the regular season.
Holmes has been training as a running back and on special teams, identical to Hayne, who became the 49ers' punt/kick returner and third or fourth-string running back.
With teams restricted to just 46 players on game days in the regular season, Hayne became an asset because he could play special teams and be used as a running back when injuries struck the 49ers' top options.
"I want to play as many positions as I can on the field on special teams," Holmes said.
Holmes has the added luxury of not having an axe hanging over his head like the Jets' other fringe players.
As a member of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program, the Jets can keep him on their practice squad for the season without having to cut another player.
Holmes will make $187,000 on the practice squad, a long way from the new $5 million Cronulla contract he walked away from last year. Speculation Holmes is using the NFL stint as a gap year before returning to the NRL and possibly a huge contract with the North Queensland Cowboys has followed him to New York.
Holmes dismissed it.
"Obviously, I am trying to make this a long-term thing," Holmes said.
"That's why I came over and gave up what I had."