Football: Lendy Holmes tries to make it in NFL
ASHBURN, Va. — “He’s kinda ballsy.”
A bit crude, perhaps, the comment coming from Washington Redskins safeties coach Steve Jackson. But when you’re an undrafted rookie free agent like Lendy Holmes, trying to make an NFL team, it’s tough to be picky about the praise your coach chooses to give you.
“He’s not afraid to take chances,” Jackson continued about the former Oklahoma defensive back. “Not afraid to make a play. Not afraid to be in there with the older guys.”
Holmes’ name was not one of the 256 selected during April’s NFL draft.
“It was really disappointing,” he said. “I felt like I wasn’t a good enough player to be drafted, or that I hadn’t done everything I was supposed to do, or I had done things wrong to not get drafted.”
The Redskins, though, scooped Holmes up before the Klieg lights at Radio City Music Hall had a chance to cool down.
“Fifteen, twenty minutes later, Washington called,” Holmes said. “My girlfriend answered the phone and she told me Washington was on the phone, and I just jumped on that, when I thought everything was gone wrong.”
Holmes posted a slow time at the NFL Combine in the 40-yard dash (4.74 seconds) and that might have been what caused teams to pass on him.
“He’s athletic. He’s an athletic guy,” Jackson said. “Time speed, he’s not there, but he’s a lot quicker than what you see with time speed. That was one of the things that got him knocked down, was his time speed. Out here we’ve been more than impressed with what he’s done.”
Holmes also brings an ability to pay multiple positions with him to the Redskins. He came to OU as a receiver, before moving to cornerback and eventually to free safety.
“All of our safeties play every position on the field,” Jackson said. “You never know when three guys are going to go down, and you’re asked to get in there at nickel and cover the other team’s best slot receiver, one on one. (Holmes’) built for it. He can play all the positions.”
And, like all players across the league with an uncertain roster spot, Holmes is trying to make himself indispensable by showing he can play on the Redskins’ special teams.
“Like in college, wherever they want me, I’m going to play,” he said. “I’m athletic enough, so I can do whatever. So where ever they need me. I’m going to be playing special teams too.”