Former South Sydney forward Jordan Mailata finally made his NFL debut running on in the second-half of the Philadelphia Eagles season-opening loss to Washington.
The 23-year-old, 153kg Australian giant, who was drafted in the seventh round in the 2018 draft, was brought into the game to cover for the injured rookie Jack Driscoll with a little over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
In his third season with the Eagles, Mailata did well in his in his limited minutes in an injury-affected offensive line coach Doug Pederson said was “resilient”.
“Any time you disrupt your offensive line and lose some continuity there, it‘s going to affect you a little bit, but the one thing I like about our guys is it’s a resilient group,” the new coach said.
Mailata, who battled injury last season, got more minutes that he would have expected, staying in the game even when first-choice Driscoll was available again.
Aussie @jordan_mailata entering his first ever NFL regular season game for the @Eagles this morning. Fingers crossed this is the first of many! 🏈🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/dNqJdLVs6E
The Aussie, who has played in practice games for the Eagles and survived to make the 56-man roster for thew season, even earned praise from teammate Travis Kelce.
“Jack (Driscoll) battled his ass off. When he went down, Mailata battled his ass off,” Kelce said.
Mailata got his game day chance after right tackle Lane Johnson was put in the inactive list with an ankle injury.
Johnson is only expected to miss one match, which could impact Mailata’s playing minutes.
Mailata was drafted by the Eagles despite never playing an NFL game.
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