All NFL locker rooms need veterans, especially a young, up-and-coming one like the Detroit Lions have
That’s why it was such great news for them to know that veteran OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai decided to come back for at least another season.
The 325-pound specimen underwent back surgery and even pondered retirement before deciding to take a pay cut to run it back with the team.
After mulling retirement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai took a major paycut to play another season with the #Lions
"I can’t leave Penei. I can’t leave all my guys. I love this team a lot. I’m going to help Dan win one," he said:https://t.co/ytjrAWojY6
— Will Burchfield (@burchie_kid) May 26, 2023
Vatai had surgery in September and was enjoying his life in Texas, but he felt the urge to play for at least another year before riding into the sunset, as he told Audacay’s Will Burchfield.
The 29-year-old had to wait for five full months before being able to get some work done again and once he started rehabbing, he knew he had to play for another season.
Vaitai became a beloved and respected member of the Lions’ locker room, and he felt like he owed young star Penei Sewell and HC Dan Campbell another season.
“I can’t leave Penei. I can’t leave all my guys. I can’t leave them. I love this team a lot,” Vatai said. “I’m going to help Dan win one.” he said.
He was set to have the fourth-highest cap hit for the team in 2023 after signing a $45 million contract in 2020, so he agreed to take a pay cut of more than $6 million and void the last year of his deal to be back.
Vaitai already won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, so it’s not like he needed that to cement himself as one of the best offensive lineman in modern history.
He may not even be the starting right guard for Dan Campbell’s team in 2023, only making it even more respectable of him to decide and run it back for less money this season.NEXT: Another Lions Player Is Reportedly Under Investigation For Gambling