Infotainment Factory: Holmes open to possibility of 2019 NRL return

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Holmes open to possibility of 2019 NRL return


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Former Cronulla Sharks star Valentine Holmes has left the door open to the possibility of an NRL return within the year.

Holmes stunned the rugby league community in December when he announced he’d be leaving the NRL effective immediately to pursue a dream career in America’s National Football League.

The decision incensed his former captain and Sharks Talisman Paul Gallen who emphatically called for the winger to be barred from returning after what many perceived as a shirking of responsibility in the breaking of his professional contract.

Currently, Holmes is trialling in the NFL’s 12-week International Player Pathway Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he has been training alongside six other NFL hopefuls from the UK, Brazil, Germany and Mexico.

Valentine Holmes' possible NRL return

And while previously stated that he had “zero” interest in returning down under, it appears Holmes has re-evaluated his stance.

“If it was up to me, I’d like to finish [my career] here [the US],” Holmes told Fox Sports.

“It’s why I came over and left everything behind to obviously try make it and make a name for myself over here as well.”

“If it didn’t work out here, I’d obviously come back because I need to make money somehow.”

Valentine Holmes' NFL workout

The 23-year-old will have to be one of four players selected out of the seven in the pathway program if he is a shot at being assigned to a team in the AFC East conference. Even then, being selected doesn’t necessarily mean cracking into the first team, and he won’t be eligible to play until 2020.

While he admitted, he hadn’t given it too much thought, Holmes said he would be open to the possibility of a return to Shark park within the year should he falter in the US.

“For sure,” he said.

“Obviously it’s where I played my whole career and I’ve grown up. Since I was 17, that’s when I moved there and I’ve been coming up through all ages there and I’d love to finish out there if it didn’t work out here.”

Valentine Holmes runs 40-yard dash

Holmes was once widely expected to move north in a shock swap deal for the then returning Ben Barba at the Cowboys.

While the bulk of the plan lies in tatters, Holmes express a fondness to return to one day play professionally for his corner of the world.

“That’s home for me,” Holmes said of North Queensland.

Valentine Holmes doing NFL drills at IMG Academy

“That’s where my parents and family lives, so that was on the cards when I was thinking about my negotiations with my contract, because I only had the year left with the Sharks.

“Obviously it was either going to be re-signing with the Sharks or to Cowboys back home, but they’ve got a few good players signed now so it’s going to be quite hard to get a spot somewhere I think.”

Former Cronulla Sharks star Valentine Holmes has left the door open to the possibility of an NRL return within the year.

Holmes stunned the rugby league community in December when he announced he’d be leaving the NRL effective immediately to pursue a dream career in America’s National Football League.

The decision incensed his former captain and Sharks Talisman Paul Gallen who emphatically called for the winger to be barred from returning after what many perceived as a shirking of responsibility in the breaking of his professional contract.

Currently, Holmes is trialling in the NFL’s 12-week International Player Pathway Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he has been training alongside six other NFL hopefuls from the UK, Brazil, Germany and Mexico.

Valentine Holmes' possible NRL return

And while previously stated that he had “zero” interest in returning down under, it appears Holmes has re-evaluated his stance.

“If it was up to me, I’d like to finish [my career] here [the US],” Holmes told Fox Sports.

“It’s why I came over and left everything behind to obviously try make it and make a name for myself over here as well.”

“If it didn’t work out here, I’d obviously come back because I need to make money somehow.”

Valentine Holmes' NFL workout

The 23-year-old will have to be one of four players selected out of the seven in the pathway program if he is a shot at being assigned to a team in the AFC East conference. Even then, being selected doesn’t necessarily mean cracking into the first team, and he won’t be eligible to play until 2020.

While he admitted, he hadn’t given it too much thought, Holmes said he would be open to the possibility of a return to Shark park within the year should he falter in the US.

“For sure,” he said.

“Obviously it’s where I played my whole career and I’ve grown up. Since I was 17, that’s when I moved there and I’ve been coming up through all ages there and I’d love to finish out there if it didn’t work out here.”

Valentine Holmes runs 40-yard dash

Holmes was once widely expected to move north in a shock swap deal for the then returning Ben Barba at the Cowboys.

While the bulk of the plan lies in tatters, Holmes express a fondness to return to one day play professionally for his corner of the world.

“That’s home for me,” Holmes said of North Queensland.

Valentine Holmes doing NFL drills at IMG Academy

“That’s where my parents and family lives, so that was on the cards when I was thinking about my negotiations with my contract, because I only had the year left with the Sharks.

“Obviously it was either going to be re-signing with the Sharks or to Cowboys back home, but they’ve got a few good players signed now so it’s going to be quite hard to get a spot somewhere I think.”

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