It's hard not to root for RB Valentine Holmes to make the Jets 53-man roster this season.
Holmes left his stardom in Australian rugby behind when he decided to take a leap with the NFL's International Pathway Program that allows international athletes the chance to make an NFL roster. It was a long and hard decision to make for the 24-year-old, but he decided to take the shot.
"The opportunity had come up for me," Holmes told NYJets.com's Jim Gehman. "The International Pathway were really interested and wanted to get me over and see what I can do. They had confidence in me that I could make the transition across to American football. But I had a lot to think about. My wife, and obviously my teammates and the club that I was with had been really, really good to me and had given me pretty much all I had. So, it was a really big decision to make."
But Holmes made the trip over to the states, and has truly seen what these NFL players go through every summer to try and make a roster. There are many players that have played football their whole lives, and still have trouble sticking around on teams. So to say it was a longshot for Holmes to win a role with the Jets when he began would be an understatement.
When he finally got his first shot in game action, though, Holmes flashed his elusiveness and speed against the Giants. He only rushed six yards on three attempts, but in the receiving game he had three catches for 30 yards.
Holmes has been making tacklers miss for years down in Australia, something his fellow running back Ty Montgomery noticed from his rugby highlights.
"I don't know if (Ty Montgomery) saw my Instagram or maybe looked up some of my clips on YouTube, but he came in the other day and said, 'I didn't know you were actually that good in Australia. You weren't the Tom Brady of Australia, were you?' They just were kind of surprised where I cam from and what I gave up to come over for something like this just because they don't know kind of what it was like to play rugby," Holmes explained to Gehman.
He hasn't seen many opportunities since that first game, but this Thursday against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium should see that change. Week 4 of the preseason is when those fringe players get their best chances to impress their coaches one last time before cuts begin.
Holmes will be giving it his all for sure, but no matter what happens, he's happy about how he took the chance and how his teammates embraced him during his first camp.
"One thing I kind of live by in my life is to not have any regrets," he said. "And I kind of knew with this opportunity that came up for me that if I didn't take it, I would have regretted it my whole life.
"It's a really good club and I'm really excited to be here," he said. "It would just obviously be a dream come true (to make the team). It'd be exciting. Exciting times."