Australian Daniel Faalele makes NFL debut for Baltimore Ravens; fans demand he get a starring role

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Aussie man mountain Daniel Faalele realised a dream when he made his NFL debut on Monday morning, Australian time – and Ravens fans are so keen on him they’re already begging their team for more. 

The 203cm, 174kg offensive lineman was picked up by the Ravens in the fourth round of April’s NFL draft – but was expected by many to be a project player who would not play much this season, if at all.

Faalele, the heaviest player in the entire league, made a mockery of that prediction, suiting up for Baltimore in their heartbreaking 42-38 loss to the Miami Dolphins. 

He was called up after impressing Ravens coaching staff at preseason training camps, and because the team’s offensive line suffered some crucial injuries to start the season.

Aussie star Daniel Faalele watches on ready for action from the bench in his NFL debut on Monday morning for the Baltimore Ravens

Not content to just warm the bench, Faalele was thrown in at a couple of crucial times during the high-scoring game, most notably blocking for star quarterback Lamar Jackson as he threw a touchdown to tight end Mark Andrews.

Acting as an extra blocker on the right, the Aussie – pictured below wearing the number 77 jersey – kept Jackson’s pocket clear as the superstar threw an easy one-yard touchdown. 

Daniel Faalele (circled) blocks for Lamar Jackson before he throws a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews

Daniel Faalele (circled) blocks for Lamar Jackson before he throws a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews

It’s an incredible achievement for an Australian who has only been playing the game for five years just to suit up, let alone thrive in regular-season action – but the patriarchal Ravens fans are demanding more.

Not from Faalele, who has clearly already captured the attention of the fanbase, but from the team. 

The Ravens brought the heaviest man in the league on as an extra blocker on a couple of crucial third down situations but inexplicably chose not to use his size to their advantage.

The fact it was his first-ever NFL snap didn’t matter in the slightest to Ravens supporters. 

Daniel Faalele has finally made his NFL debut after moving from Melbourne to the US in 2016

Daniel Faalele has finally made his NFL debut after moving from Melbourne to the US in 2016

‘Ravens brought rookie T (tackle) Daniel Faalele in on third-and-1 for a big-time jumbo look. But they ran the other way for no gain,’ lamented one Ravens fan on Twitter.

Even the Ravens editorial director, Ryan Mink, was getting in on the action. 

‘Daniel Faalele with his first NFL snap, coming in as an extra blocker on third-and-1. Ravens ran to the other side, but that was a lot of beef. Run for no gain,’ he wrote on Twitter. 

It wasn’t just blocking – an offensive linesman’s bread and better – the experts or fans were after, either.

Faalele with girlfriend Brianna Montgomery on the day the offensive lineman was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens

Faalele with girlfriend Brianna Montgomery on the day the offensive lineman was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens

They are hungry for the Aussie to set a record as the heaviest player to score a touchdown. 

The fans could be inspired by the moment Faalele lined up at fullback while he was playing for the University of Minnesota and bulldozed his way over for a touchdown.

It was a scene that quickly went viral and left NFL recruiters salivating at the Aussie’s enormous potential. 

Top pundits and Ravens fans pleaded with the team to let the man get to work on the goal line.  

‘Just give the ball to Daniel Faalele, problem solved,’ wrote prominent football journalist Jonas Shaffer on Twitter. 

Faalele’s long-term girlfriend, Brianna Montgomery, was on-hand at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to see his debut – decked out in Ravens gear as she cheered on her man from the stands.

‘RT (re-tweet) if you cried’, she captioned a video showing Faalele appearing on the big screen.

She excitedly shared the moment Faaele was on the field for Jackson’s touchdown, writing: ‘Don’t worry right side is good! TD on this play, go Ravens!’

Brianna Montgomery cheered on boyfriend Daniel Faalele while decked out in Ravens gear

Brianna Montgomery cheered on boyfriend Daniel Faalele while decked out in Ravens gear

Montgomery posted a photo of Faalele appearing on the big screen at the packed stadium

Montgomery posted a photo of Faalele appearing on the big screen at the packed stadium

It’s been a long journey for Faalele to get to this point, after moving to the US from Melbourne in 2016 to realise his dream of playing NFL.

The Aussie project pick still faced an uphill challenge after the draft in April to make Baltimore’s final 53-man roster down from the original 90 players.

Despite still being raw, injuring his knee during preseason training and giving up years of experience to his teammates; Faalele impressed the coaching staff and earned his spot through sheer hard work.

No doubt it’ll be a moment he will remember forever – but unfortunately his team could not get the job done in one of the most bizarre and high-scoring games in recent memory.

An impressive 318 passing yards, 119 rushing and four touchdowns from Jackson was not enough to keep the Dolphins at bay in the entertaining 42-38 encounter. 

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns, four of which came during a spectacular fourth quarter, and the Dolphins rallied from a 21-point deficit to secure an unlikely victory

Tagovailoa’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle with just 14 seconds left completed the incredible comeback after Miami trailed 35-14 with under 13 minutes remaining.

The Ravens will now look to re-group and rebound next Monday morning against a Patriots side that appears ripe for a beating after a lacklustre start to their season. 

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