Holmes’ message to fans as he flies to United States
It's "only the beginning" but former NRL star Valentine Holmes is taking a big step in his bid to play in the NFL.
Holmes has revealed he is jetting out to the US on Thursday, posting a video to his Instagram account showcasing his new skills in preparation for a training camp in Florida.
In the video, shot by his former Cronulla Sharks teammate Chad Townsend, Holmes runs through sprinting drills and catches passes with an NFL football.
"This is only the beginning. Heading over to America tomorrow to officially start my journey to the @nfl. Thank you everyone for your support," Holmes said in the post.
Holmes is due to enter the IMG Academy after being selected in the NFL's International Player Pathway Program.
Last month Holmes was one of seven elite athletes from around the world chosen for the program, joining British rugby union winger Christian Wade and Brazilian judoka champion Durval Neto and four others from Germany and Mexico who have backgrounds in American football.
The program provides elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.
Holmes, who has been working with leading Sydney strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin, will train under the supervision of running back coach Earnest Byner, offensive line coach Paul Dunn, linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and wide receiver coach Larry Kirksey.
Holmes has been identified by the NFL as a potential running back, wide receiver and kick returner.
It all but guarantees the 23-year-old a place on an NFL practice squad at least - if he's not signed as a free agent he'll be randomly assigned to a team for the duration of the training camp.
Once the season begins, Holmes will become eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, meaning a team would be granted an extra spot on their practice squad should they sign him, although he would be ineligible to be activated during the season.
South Sydney prop Jordan Mailata earned his NFL start through the same program and was drafted by Philadelphia this year.