Jordan Mailata signs a lucrative deal with Philadelphia Eagles
An incredible sports story! 4 Years ago Jordan Mailata was playing 2nd tier rugby league & had never played American football. The Boy from Bankstown recently signed a 4 year US$108 million NFL contract for the Philadelphia Eagles.
24 year old Jordan Mailata is one of the great success stories for the NFL Pathways Program, created for foreign athletes with little or no American football experience.
Jordan became only the second player to be drafted that had no American high school or college experience. German-born Moritz Böhringer, who spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals was the first.
The 6’8″ & now 165 kg behemoth was very quick for a big man but his size was too much for the rigorous cardio demands of rugby league, exacerbated after he underwent surgery twice for genetic heart disease.
He left the South Sydney Rabbitohs behind to try his luck in the NFL and sufficiently impressed the Philadelphia Eagles to pick him as their 7th round, 233rd draft pick on minimum wage.
He then went on a rampage, displacing first round draft pick Andrew Dillard from left tackle and blowing away his teammates.
Teammate Isaac Seumalo spoke of his potential: “His ceiling is so high, he’s only scratching the surface.”
Jason Kelce spoke of his rise: “It’s really remarkable how far he’s come so quickly.”
“Jordan is a freak of nature,” said right tackle Lane Johnson. “Once he figures it out, he should be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, how he wants.”
Jordan grew up in Bankstown in Sydney under the traditional Faʻa Sāmoa tradition maintained by his father Tupai. It was a life of strict discipline with education the first priority.
His father originally said no to his American adventures but after softening him up one night, Jordan deliberately losing to him in table tennis, his father relented and let him follow his heart.
Although Jordan was separated from his father at the IMG Academy, Tupai’s lessons underpinned his approach: “Make sure I’m praying, make sure I’m respectful to everybody, make sure I’m a good person first, keep the main thing the main thing.”
Although he has lots of goals still to achieve, he is especially proud to meet one milestone: “I’ve been wanting to buy my parents a house and I can finally do that.”
The transformation from rugby league player to NFL player hasn’t been easy with Mailata describing the playbook as: “a hundred-sided Rubik’s cube, I almost fainted.”
Despite the fame, money and plaudits, Jordan is grounded in humility: “I’m just a Samoan-Australian trying to make his name in the league.”
Image Source: Philadelphia Eagles.
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