Published by Peter Mitchell, 2 September 2018 on wwos.nine.com.au
Australian giant Jordan Mailata has achieved the improbable and made the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ roster.
It is an incredible feat considering the 21-year-old only played his first American football game four weeks ago and the list of talented, experienced Eagles players cut on Saturday.
The NFL’s 32 teams slashed their rosters from 90 players to 53 on Saturday (Sunday 6am AEST) before Thursday’s start to the regular season.
Mailata is not getting carried away and knows he will have to perform or face the axe.
“When I sit here and think about how far I’ve come, I’m happy with all the progress that I’ve made but I can’t settle for it,” he told the Eagles’ website.
Australians across the NFL appear to have survived the savage cuts with Mailata and Geelong rookie punter Cameron Johnston making the Eagles, defensive end Adam Gotsis remaining with the Denver Broncos and Aussie rules-bred punters Michael Dickson (Seattle Seahawks), Jordan Berry (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Lachlan Edwards (New York Jets) keeping their jobs.
Former Rabbitoh does the unthinkable.
Mailata, the 203cm tall, 157kg former South Sydney Rabbitohs prospect has captured the attention of the US media and NFL fans with his huge physique, work ethic and sense of humour.
His lack of NFL experience makes him the ultimate project for the Eagles.
The perfect place for Mailata is the Eagles’ practice squad where he could learn the NFL without the pressure of playing games, but other NFL teams could sign him if Philadelphia place him there.
Seahawks excited about Michael Dickson.
Mailata shows so much promise the Eagles fear Mailata would be snapped up by rivals.
“Jordan Mailata made the Eagles’ 53-man roster today,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday.
“He has the chance to become a standout left tackle.”
The tough, sports crazy city of Philadelphia is becoming an outpost for elite Australian athletes with Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden key pieces on the Philadelphia 76ers NBA squad.