9 Apr 2019

Former NRL star Valentine Holmes to join New York Jets

11:22 am on 9 April 2019

Former Sharks and Kangaroos outside back Valentine Holmes has been invited to join the NFL's New York Jets

Cameron Smith celebrates with Valentine Holmes after Holmes scores his fifth try. Australia v Fiji.

Cameron Smith celebrates with Valentine Holmes after Holmes scores his fifth try. Australia v Fiji. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2015 www.photosport.nz

The 23-year-old, who walked away from a $5 million contract with Cronulla, will share a locker room with star running back Le'Veon Bell and quarterback Sam Darnold at the New Jersey-based Jets.

The NFL announced today that Holmes and other elite athletes in the International Pathway Program have been allocated to teams in the AFC East division - the Jets, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

British rugby union speedster Christian Wade will join the Bills.

Brazilian judo champion Durval Neto was picked up by the Miami Dolphins and German tight end Jakob Johnson will go with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Pathway players become members of team's practice squads and will not be eligible to play games in the 2019 season.

The program is designed to give elite athletes with little American football knowledge a chance to insert themselves with an NFL team and learn the game without the pressure of being cut.

Holmes will be hit with a significant pay cut from his NRL days.

Pathway players on NFL practice squads earn about $US129,200 ($A181,500) per season.

Holmes, the former Cronulla, Queensland and Australian representative fullback, and the other Pathway players spent the past three months at Florida's IMG Academy learning how to train and play American football.

Wade was part of the British Lions squad that toured Australia in 2013.

A year ago South Sydney junior Jordan Mailata, a Pathway graduate, was taken in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by Philadelphia Eagles.

Holmes said last week he did not believe he was eligible for the draft because of his age.

He has been training as a running back, wide-receiver and punt/kick returner.

Holmes participated in a "pro day" in Tampa Bay last week in front of NFL scouts and clocked 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash.