The North Queensland Cowboys have confirmed the signing of Valentine Holmes after the former Queensland Origin star was released by his National Football League (NFL) club on the weekend.
- The Townsville junior has signed a six-year contract with the North Queensland Cowboys
- Holmes was released by the NFL’s New York Jets on the weekend
- He played no regular season games for the Jets and failed to make their 53-man roster
In a statement released on Sunday night, the Cowboys revealed Holmes had agreed to a six-year contract, running through the 2025 NRL season.
The 24-year-old will be formally introduced to Cowboys fans on Monday at a press conference with Cowboys director of football Peter Parr and coach Paul Green in Townsville.
Holmes began his pursuit of a career in American professional football last year after being released by the NRL’s Cronulla Sharks following the conclusion of the 2018 NRL season.
In the US he was assigned to the New York Jets as part of the NFL’s International Pathway program.
But the running back hopeful languished on the team’s practice squad after rushing for just nine yards in 11 carries and recording 85 yards in eight catches during his limited appearances in the team’s four preseason games.
Holmes failed to make the Jets’ 53-man playing roster and did not play in any regular season NFL games.
In a statement, Parr described Holmes as a “wonderful signing” for the NRL club.
“It wasn’t long ago that Valentine was one of the best players in the competition before his courageous decision to go to the NFL. His form in 2018 was as good as any player in the NRL, particularly in the second half of that season,” he said in the statement.
“He’s a proven big game player, he’s won a grand final and he’s played some terrific football for both Queensland and Australia.
“Valentine has been a top-class performer at wing and fullback and we’ve made no secret we had a desire to strengthen our outside back stocks.”
Prior to his NFL release, Holmes told AAP he had planned to stay with the Jets until the end of the season before deciding on whether to return to the NRL.
“Joining the New York Jets has been an awesome experience, one I would never change,” he said.
“I made personal and professional sacrifices to secure the opportunity to pull on the Jets helmet and uniform.
“I will live with no regrets around my decision to pursue an NFL career.”
The Western Lions Townsville junior played 105 NRL games during five seasons with Cronulla, playing a key role in the club’s 2016 NRL Premiership.
During his representative career he played 13 tests for Australia and represented Queensland five times in State of Origin.