Valentine Holmes receives brutal welcome from New York Jets teammates

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“There was one big hit I got today where I just turned up the field and I got kind of cleaned out, but that’s the sport,” Holmes told reporters.

“You just get back up, get back out there and keep going.”

Blind side: Valentine Holmes, at training right, endured a baptism of fire with his Jets teammates.

Blind side: Valentine Holmes, at training right, endured a baptism of fire with his Jets teammates.Credit: Twitter @New York Jets, Instagram

Just like former South Sydney Rabbitohs junior Jordan Mailata last year with the Philadelphia Eagles and Jarryd Hayne with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, Holmes is not only learning the complexities of the NFL but dealing with playing in a helmet and heavy pads while competing with elite athletes who have been playing the sport since they were children.

“It’s quite hot wearing all of the pads and the helmets compared to what I’m used to playing in, but it is going good,” Holmes said.

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s totally different. It’s like learning a new language.”

Holmes is also dealing with being hit by an NFL player from different angles compared to the NRL.

“It is different,” he said. “I mean, you can’t really see the hits coming in the sport but in rugby league you can kind of see who’s coming at you, who is trying to tackle you so you can kind of evade them.”

The Jets have about 90 players on the roster, but will slash it to 53 as the team plays four pre-season games ahead of the September 8 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Holmes is considered a long shot to make the 53 and, as a participant in the NFL’s International Pathway program, is guaranteed a place on the Jets practice squad.

Practice squad players train with the team, but do not play games.

Holmes hopes to make the most of his opportunities in the pre-season games against the Giants, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Mailata’s Eagles.

“That was my first scrimmage against kind of a real-life situation type thing, so I’m just trying to take it day-by-day and impress the coaches and try and learn what I can do,” Holmes said.

“I’d like to make the 53 or even the practice squad, but we’ll see how we go.”


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