PHILADELPHIA – It takes most of a day to fly to where his family lives in Australia, so when Jordan Mailata arrived in Philadelphia six years ago to try this new-to-him game of professional football, he was literally like the proverbial fish out of water.
He needed to learn a game that was foreign to him after spending most of his life playing professional rugby, and he needed to find the comfort of friendship.
In 2021, Landon Dickerson arrived, and a close bond was instantly formed between the two Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive linemen.
The two ended up side-by-side on the line, with Mailata anchored at left tackle and Dickerson to his right, at left guard.
When it came time to choosing a best man for his wedding this offseason, Dickerson didn’t have to look far. He tabbed Mailata.
“It was a blast,” said Mailata of the wedding. “It was a great time, a very beautiful scene that they set up there down in South Carolina. Truly, truly a beautiful moment to be a part of and I was honored to be his best man. That’s my brother.”
Dickerson and his fiancé Brooke Kuhlman tied the knot in front of 150 guests at the Cliffs at the Glassy Chapel in Greenville, S.C., on March 25.
Mailata, 26, and Dickerson, 24, are the next wave of Eagles blockers, ready to take over as leaders of the unit when the day comes that current captains, center Jason Kelce, 35, and right tackle, Lane Johnson, 33, retire.
Dickerson still works under the terms of his rookie contract as a second-round pick. The deal runs through 2024.
Mailata has taken to his new sport quickly and extremely well. He has already been given a contract extension and is the 11th highest-paid left tackle in the game. It’s a deal expected to keep him in Philly through 2025.
For now, that means more time with Dickerson.
“It’s quality time, quality time over quantity,” he said. “It means a lot. It’s tough for me because my family is back home in Australia. They’re 20-plus hours away, so it’s about finding people I can connect with here and really build my circle of trust.”
Despite knowing each other for just two years, the friendship developed quickly, according to Mailata.
“I feel like the man knows me like the back of his hand and I know him like the back of mine,” Mailata said. “When you spend all the hours you spend in this building during the season, during OTAs, during training camp, you have no choice but to form relationships with guys you’re around, and when you do, you build on that and you connect, and that translates to on the field.
“Then when you go through the struggles on the field together when you have to execute and win games, when you don’t win games, that’s when you stick together. And Landon and I have stuck together for the last two years, and it’s been a blessing to have him.”