Failure not an option for Holmes
"I don't plan on going home."
With those words, Valentine Holmes has underlined his razor-sharp intent to carve out a successful career in the NFL following his "comfortable" trial debut which has ignited hope his New York Jets dream is not a pointless dalliance.
Such is Holmes' determination to make it in America, the former Queensland Origin star has instructed his management not to even bother sourcing NRL offers as a safety net in the event his NFL gamble comes crashing down.
If Holmes returned to Australia tomorrow, he could name his price with NRL clubs. The Cowboys have already publicly stated their desire to put out the welcome mat, armed with a five-year deal worth almost $1 million a season.
There is a prevailing sentiment Holmes' return home is an inevitability, even if his assured final-quarter blooding with the Jets suggests the 24-year-old is further along the NFL development curve that even the sport's experts anticipated.
But Holmes is digging his heels in, hungrier than ever. As he prepares for his second hit-out in a trial against Atlanta this Friday (9am AEST), Holmes has told his Australian management an NRL comeback is the last thing on his mind.
"I spoke to Val yesterday and he said his debut has only motivated him. He said he doesn't plan on coming back," said Pacific Sports Management's Chris Orr, who also helped Jordan Mailata secure an NFL deal with Philadelphia.
"Obviously there is no shortage of interest here in Val from NRL clubs, the Cowboys have made it clear they would be interested in talking to him.
"But speaking to Val, he's told me not to worry about offers from NRL clubs. His single focus is on making it in the NFL.
"Of course, he knows rugby league so well and he could come back to the game in a heartbeat, but he doesn't plan to fail in the NFL."
Holmes accepts the odds are stacked against him.
The Jets made that patently clear recently when they released their roster depth chart on the club's official website. For the running back position, six names were listed in order of ranking. Holmes' name was sixth and last.
But like the NRL, NFL depth charts are fluid depending on form, injuries and transfers and Holmes hopes he can move up the rankings quickly enough to make the final 53-man squad for the NFL season opener on September 5.
"Historically, Val has never failed," Orr says.
"He left Townsville as a teenager with a goal to play NRL and he achieved that. He had a goal to win a premiership and he did that. He aspired to play for Queensland and Australia and he ticked those boxes as well.
"The people close to Val know how determined he is. He hates failure and he is backing himself again to stay in the NFL for a while yet."
Holmes had three runs for six yards and three catches for 30 yards and despite being crunched front-on by Giants defender Kenny Ladler in the Jets' 31-22 loss, the former Shark doesn't fear the brutality of the NFL.
"The biggest thing for me is the playbook," he told the Jets website. "The physical stuff doesn't worry me. It's learning the playbook. It's so huge, you have to learn all the routes and what everyone is doing.
"You can't forget stuff. I've got an iPad set up for me by the club and every night, I'm studying the playbook, wanting to get better."