A 203cm giant from Bankstown who was rejected from the NRL is now an NFL superstar sitting on a mammoth $108million contract, telling young athletes to ‘go for it’ and do anything to pursue their dreams.
Jordan Mailata started as left tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, just four years after first learning the ins and outs of one of America’s most beloved sports.
The 24-year-old, who grew up in Sydney’s south-west, had been hoping for a career in the NRL but was ultimately dropped, being told he was too big and couldn’t last on the field for long enough.
He was offered a spot in South Sydney’s second grade feeder team for a measly $5,000.
But just as his rugby league prospects started to look bleak, Mailata’s management put together a highlights video which ended up on the desks of NFL scouts.
Jordan Mailata (pictured with his partner) started for the Philadelphia Eagles this week after scoring himself a mammoth $108million contract
‘All I knew about the NFL was what I’d seen in movies like Remember The Titans and The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘When it came out everyone in Canterbury was calling me Big Mike, like the guy in that movie.’
His four-year contract with the Eagles now makes him one of Australia’s richest athletes and the wealthiest Aussie in the NFL.
In the 2018 NFL draft, Mailata was selected in the seventh round by the Eagles as the 233rd overall pick following a gruelling training camp.
He’d been invited to attend the camp that year as part of the Pathways Program for foreign players.
He then spent years learning the game and training intensively, with the former Rabbitohs Under 20s star finally making his NFL debut in 2020.
Being told to put on more weight for the league, Mailata now weighs a whopping 160kg and has earned himself a starting position.
‘I came over here knowing nothing about this game but I’ve learned the game and learned how to love it,’ he said.
The 24-year-old (pictured in his Eagles jersey) had hoped for a career in the NRL but was ultimately told he was too big for the pace of the game
The 203cm giant (pictured at training) made his NFL debut last year and has since earned himself a starting position
In the 2018 NFL draft, Mailata (pictured with his partner) was selected in the seventh round by the Eagles as the 233rd overall pick following a gruelling training camp
‘Now I want to win the championship for the Philly fans.’
Having nearly missed out on a professional sporting career himself, the 24-year-old encouraged anyone training to be an elite athlete to commit to it fully.
‘If you really want to put all your eggs in one basket, do it, don’t look back,’ he said.
‘You gotta do it. For me there was no plan B.’
Following the Eagles’ 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, American football fans were more than impressed at Mailata’s ability.
Having nearly missed out on a professional sporting career himself, the 24-year-old encouraged anyone training to be an elite athlete to commit to it fully
The superstar athlete (pictured with his partner) says he plans to buy his parents a house following his contract extension
Footage of a crushing block by the 24-year-old did the rounds on social media with many praising the Aussie recruit.
Speaking after the game, Mailata said he felt ‘extremely blessed’ with his contract extension and revealed how he’d put his new paycheck to work.
‘Everyone (at home) called me ‘Big Money’. I told them not to call me that,’ he said.
‘I’ve been wanting to buy my parents a house so I can finally do that.
‘I think it is a movie. I’m just waiting for someone to say ”cut”, then all the lights come down.’
Jordan Mailata’s great size (pictured) has helped him develop his skills as a left tackle in the NFL