Why rugby stars Valentine Holmes and Christian Wade took a pay cut to play in the NFL

Last January, Valentine Holmes and Christian Wade decided to tackle something new. Holmes could have signed a million-dollar rugby league contract in Australia. Wade might have been playing for England at the ongoing World Rugby Cup.

And yet, against the basic instincts of human nature, these star wingers both left financial stability and the passionate support of tens of thousands of fans when they stepped on the field at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with the improbable hope of making a National Football League roster.

How improbable? Ten months later, they’re pulling down $8,000 a week in the anonymity of NFL practice squads. If you wanted more proof of just how hard it is to make it in American football, those scenarios alone should lend some proof.

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