EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — AUGUST 29: New York Jets running back Valentine Holmes (39) is tackled during the pre-season National Football League game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets on August 29, 2019 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — AUGUST 29: New York Jets running back Valentine Holmes (39) is tackled during the pre-season National Football League game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets on August 29, 2019 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Val Holmes’ life about to get more painful

Valentine Holmes is set to earn $12,000 a week in the hardest of ways - by being heavily bashed up in New York Jets practice sessions.

Sure, the NFL wannabe will get to learn the playbooks of franchises like the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles too.

Elsewhere, mimic megastars like Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

But just like Clubber Lang so famously offered up in Rocky III, overwhelming the prediction is "pain".

 

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There are plenty more brutal tackles ahead for Valentine Holmes in his new role as a crash test dummy for the Jets. Picture: Elsa/Getty Images
There are plenty more brutal tackles ahead for Valentine Holmes in his new role as a crash test dummy for the Jets. Picture: Elsa/Getty Images

While he may have missed a spot on the New York Jets 53-man roster Sunday, Holmes has made the practice squad for the upcoming season - a position for which he is eligible as an International Pathways Program player.

Only last week, the former Cronulla Sharks star told The Daily Telegraph he would not be returning to Australia - and a potential $1 million NRL salary - if he made either the Jets top squad or was invited onto the practice team.

So what is Holmes in for if he stays in the Big Apple?

 

Well, as a member of the Jets practice roster, the 24-year-old Queensland and Australian representative will earn roughly $200,000 acting as something of a crash test dummy in weekly practice sessions, while also learning to mimic whichever superstars the Jets play that week.

It means Holmes will have to not only learn the playbook of rival teams like the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots, but superstars like Cowboys RB Elliott and New York Giants favourite Saquon Barkley.

Apart from having to prepare his Jets teammates for game day, Holmes will also have to fill in for them during practice when they are taking a play, a series or even an entire session off.

Taking far more reps each week than rostered players, Holmes will also be getting beaten up on a fairly regular basis.

Valentine Holmes (39) will have plenty to learn in his role on the New York Jets practice squad. Picture: Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Valentine Holmes (39) will have plenty to learn in his role on the New York Jets practice squad. Picture: Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Everything, essentially, except suiting up on a Sunday afternoon at Metlife Stadium.

While Holmes missed a spot on the New York roster, the news was far better for Australian punter Lachlan Edwards, who won the Jets' punting job.

Elsewhere, hulking South Sydney junior Jordan Mailata also made the Philadelphia Eagles roster alongside Geelong punter Cameron Johnston.

Given Mailata was himself a part of the International Pathways Program, it provides Holmes with some hope that there remains a pathway to the NFL despite his failure to earn a spot in the Jets top side this year.

It also gives the New York franchise a chance to keep the Australian on without losing a more experienced US player from weekly workouts.

As one of four teams participating in this year's International Pathway Program, the Jets can add an extra member to what is usually a 10-man practice squad.

It effectively means Holmes is a 'bonus' squad member.

Apart from being unable to take part in NFL matches, practice squad players can also be released at any point during the season.

While the players are also free to sign with other NFL teams, they have to be signed to the 53-man active roster of the acquiring team.
A practice squad player cannot be signed to another practice squad unless he is first released.

The International Pathway program was designed to give non-US elite athletes a chance to immerse themselves within an NFL franchise, learning the game without the pressure of having to make the 53-man roster or play games.

The New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills are the other three clubs involved in the Pathways program this year.