More Sports:

January 18, 2024

If this is it for Jason Kelce, Jordan Mailata will be ready to carry the Eagles' culture forward

Jordan Mailata is a veteran in the Eagles' locker room now, and if Jason Kelce isn't there anymore, the left tackle will be ready to step up and pay all the lessons forward.

Eagles NFL
Jordan-Mailata-Eagles-Bills-11.26.2023-NFL.jpg Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles OT Jordan Mailata

It happened fast, but Jordan Mailata is one of the seasoned vets in the Eagles' locker room now, and turning the page to 2024, it'll be on him to carry the culture long established and held by franchise stalwarts Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and Brandon Graham forward. 

Next season is going to be a different world for the Eagles. Graham said he's ready to come back for one more run on a "farewell tour" and Johnson said he still has a few good years of football left in him, but Kelce, while yet to make an official announcement, has reports pointing toward retirement, while Cox might have some miles left but maybe not in Philadelphia anymore. 

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team right now after its total implosion in the last month and change of the season, but if change is on the horizon – mainly, if it is finally time for Kelce to hang them up – Mailata will be ready to help carry the torch along the offensive line. 

"When you've had the opportunity to play with leaders like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, they're able to show you how to lead, not just through words but through actions," Mailata said Wednesday as the Eagles cleaned out their lockers down at the NovaCare Complex. "I've had the great honor of playing with Jason Kelce for the last six years...You know, when he gets emotional, I get emotional. I don't know why. It's been like that since I've come in here – actually, I do know why, because that guy gives a damn. 

"That's one thing that I'll always take away from Jason Kelce. It didn't matter what the score was, he played until the very end, and that's how I'm gonna take that same approach and coach the guys through that. You gotta have some pride when you play, and just keep carrying on the culture that he's welcomed me into and taught me."

Mailata was picked up by the Eagles in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft as a long-term project out of Australia. He was a rugby player who had never played a down of football prior, but his size – at 6'8" and 365 pounds– and athleticism carried tons of potential for an offensive tackle. 

Six years later – after countless reps ran with O-line coach Jeff Stoutland and plenty of time to learn under Kelce, Johnson, and other vets who have come and gone within the trenches – Mailata will be a formidable fifth-year starter at left tackle and very well could be helping to lead an offensive line that, for the first time after 13 years, won't include Jason Kelce. 

MORE: Jason Kelce talks future on latest 'New Heights'

Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports