By Keith Russell

HALTOM CITY (CBS11 SPORTS) – When the Eagles take the field against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, it will be hard not to notice #72 for Philadelphia. 

At 6’6″, Eagles starting left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is known as Big V. 

gettyimages 845428488 From Little Boy In Haltom City To Footballs Biggest Stage

Offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai #72 of the Philadelphia Eagles drops back to pass block on outside linebacker Preston Smith #94 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 10, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

There are those around DFW who will always remember his journey from the little boy in Haltom City… to a 5th round pick out of TCU… to football’s biggest stage.  Vaitai’s mom Shirley says, “He was always seen as lovable by teachers, coaches, and people at their church.”  

Nowhere is he loved more than within his own family.  Vaitai’s mom, dad, and two brothers will make the trip to Minneapolis to root him on.  His brothers, Will and Kevin, played along side Halapoulivaati from pee wee football thru high school.  Will says, “My brother is living my dream as well.  I wish I was right beside him.”  

Kevin says, “To see my brother in the Super Bowl… I never expected that.” 

When it comes time for kickoff, Vaitai’s dad Talikavili says he may stick to his normal routine… which is watching the game as he walks around the stadium because he is so nervous.  If he has a chance to give his son one last piece of advice, it will be to, “Remember, football is not played with your mouth.  It is played with talent and your brain.  As for the other stuff, block it all out.”  

Halapoulivaati is a newlywed, married last July, and now has a chance for a second ring.  His story should provide inspiration for other families in DFW… that anything is possible!

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