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Jordan Mailata: 'I am very grateful to the organization' 

Jordan Mailata and his wife, Niki.
Jordan Mailata and his wife, Niki.

Jordan Mailata was on his honeymoon in Italy when his agent texted him about agreeing to a contract extension with the Eagles.

"I just let my agent handle it and I handled the honeymoon," said Mailata on Friday during a press conference with reporters.

Mailata's trip to Italy was the first time he and his wife, Niki, were able to take a step back and reflect on the journey they have been on since Mailata had entered the league.

As a kid from Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia, Mailata grew up playing club rugby. At 20 years old, he had not yet picked up a football. His impressive stature and highlight tapes led him to the NFL's International Player Pathway Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Seven years later, the former 233rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft signed a three-year contract extension with the team that took a shot on a kid who "could barely afford a train ticket."

"It is an honor to be able to play at one club," Mailata said. "I've always wanted to be a player that has played for one team and there are so few that get to do that. To be a part of history and be a part of the club and the culture that we are trying to continue to build is an honor. I am very grateful to the organization."

The 27-year-old left tackle used his time on the podium to thank his role models, mentors, teachers, and teammates.

Mailata represents the name on the back of his jersey. It was his dad Tupa'i's willingness to let him start playing club rugby and the lessons that his mother, Maria, taught him that helped Mailata become the man he is today. This unique path he took to get to the NFL would not have been possible without his parents' support.

The same can be said for his siblings. One of five kids in the family, Mailata and his brothers and sisters would play any sport they could get their hands on. It was the will to not let his family down that kept Mailata going during his first two seasons when he did not play a snap and had numerous stints on injured reserve.

"I recognize the opportunity that I have every day when I step foot in this building," Mailata said. "It is an incredibly humbling one because I came from humble beginnings. When you recognize the opportunity you have, you want to take full advantage of it, but you also have to remember where you come from."

Before turning his attention from family to coaches, Mailata thanked his wife, who sat in the back of the NovaCare Complex auditorium. Since meeting at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market in 2018, Niki has been by his side. The two were married in July. Mailata applauded her for holding him accountable and keeping him grounded. Run Game Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland has been the most influential football figure in Mailata's life.

"It all starts with the coach I have in that room right now and the culture that he set," Mailata said. "You either sink to the bottom or rise to the top because of Coach Stout."

Executive Vice President and General Manager Howie Roseman asked Stoutland to take a trip to Bradenton to evaluate and work with Mailata while he was in the International Player Pathway Program. Stoutland made a decision that would positively impact the Eagles' offensive line and change the trajectory of Mailata's career when he canceled a previously planned golf trip with friends to check out the 6-foot-8, 365-pound Australian.

Stoutland wasn't the only coach to receive thanks from Mailata. Head Coach Nick Sirianni, former Head Coach Doug Pederson, and former Assistant offensive Line Coaches Roy Istvan and Eugene Chung played major roles in Mailata's development.

Mailata was "fortunate" to share the field with former and current Eagles greats who helped him develop as a player, but even more as a person. From the likes of former offensive linemen Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, and Jason Peters to current teammates Landon Dickerson and Lane Johnson, Mailata has played with his fair share of talent.

The left tackle hopes to become a leader and build on the legacy of those offensive linemen who came before him, adding to the storied history that the organization has at that position.

"Any opportunity I can get to lead from within, I will always embrace," Mailata said. "I am looking forward to coming back here and building something we can look forward to."

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