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Wade and Holmes among 7 athletes included in NFL international pathway programme

By Peter Hanson
Composite image of Valentine Holmes and Christian Wade

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Christian Wade and Valentine Holmes are among seven athletes to be included in the NFL International Player Pathway Program for 2019.

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One-cap England rugby union winger Wade surprisingly announced his decision to leave Wasps earlier this year in a bid to pursue a career in American football.

Last month, former Australia rugby league star Holmes was granted his release from NRL side Cronulla Sharks so he too could make the move to try his hand in the NFL.

And on Thursday the league announced via a statement that Wade and Holmes were among the players that will train alongside NFL veterans and draft hopefuls in Florida.

“The league has identified seven top athletes from five countries that will compete for a place in the 2019 program,” the statement read. 

“Given the program’s success to date, the NFL widened its search for international talent, with players from Brazil and Mexico participating for the first time.   

“Athletes from Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom will again be represented, including two professional rugby players, Valentine Holmes and Christian Wade, who are attempting to cross over to the NFL.  

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“[The athletes] will begin training in the United States next month and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts in March in hopes of being signed as a free agent or being selected for a 2019 practice squad position through the International Player Pathway Program.”  

Speaking to Sky Sports earlier this week, Wade admitted he was struggling to make the transition to American football.

“I have had a couple of those [tough] days,” he said. “There was a day out in Florida where we were doing some classroom stuff and I was just getting everything wrong.

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“They were asking me to draw this up and then they were like, ‘No’. I was thinking, ‘I’m pretty sure I learnt this last week’.”

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