Cronulla Sharks star Valentine Holmes has officially been released from his contract to pursue an NFL career.
The club confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday, revealing they desperately tried to keep the star fullback on a generous five-year deal.
“This news brings great disappointment to the Cronulla Sharks who have worked hard to re-sign Holmes to a five-year extension, which would have made him the highest paid player in the Club’s history,” the club said.
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“While this is in no way the outcome the Club planned for, there was no option but to grant a release to Holmes.”
Under the terms of the release, Holmes would only be able to play for the Cronulla Sharks if he is unsuccessful in the NFL and wants to return to the NRL in 2019.
“Valentine will not be eligible to play for any other NRL Club during 2019,” the Cronulla Sharks said.
The Queensland State of Origin star said he will be “forever grateful to the Cronulla Sharks Football Club and the Sharks fans for the past 5 years of support.”
“I understand this decision may come as a shock to many but I personally believe it’s the right time for me to challenge myself and pursue this NFL opportunity,” he said.
“Hopefully the fans can understand and support me as they have done throughout my career.”
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) November 20, 2018