Can he punt? We do not mean can he place a wager.
We mean punt by the American definition, as in the kicking specialist NFL teams use when their offense stalls and they have to turn the ball over to the other team.
Sav Rocca made the transition from Aussie Rules footballer to NFL punter. Several Aussies are doing that same job currently and doing it quite well, including Jordan Berry for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michael Dickson for the Seattle Seahawks.
So the question is directed at Valentine Holmes, who walked away from $5 million and five years with the Cronulla Sharks to chase a job in the NFL.
Holmes is in Florida in something called the NFL International Pathway Program, spending as much as 16 hours per day split between training and studying the game.
Holmes is just 23, young enough to learn the new code, but for every dreamer chasing NFL glory, there are several thousand aspirants, all of whom have athletic skills equal or superior to Holmes and all with 10 years of more of organised team gridiron and innumerable hours in the backyard honing the skills they saw from their NFL heroes.
Holmes’ departure from the Sharks was botched, but he seems to have gotten our just ahead of the NRL police, who seem intent on locking up the Sharks.
Holmes has stated that he probably would have sought a path away from Cronulla in any case. Asked if he would like to join up with North Queensland if the NFL gig does not pan out, he said, “Yeah, I think so. If I didn’t make this decision, it was probably going to be my last year at the Sharks.”
The Cowboys should heed two words of warning. Jarryd Hayne.
Hayne was show the door by the San Francisco 49ers, and then returned to sink the Gold Coast Titans before bolting to Parramatta, where he took the Eels from contenders to wooden spoon pretenders.