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Vita Vea may prefer smaller pads, but post-game he pays the price

The Bucs defensive tackle can manhandle just about anybody during a football game. Post-game though, his pads might have the upper hand.

Vita Vea #50 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles Miles Sanders #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 14, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

A common practice following NFL games sees players exchanging jerseys with their opponents. Players will pop off their shoulder pads and pull off the jersey to exchange it. It’s generally a pretty straight-forward exchange. Unless you’re Vita Vea.

The massive Bucs defensive tackle had a phenomenal game, as usual, and after the game went to exchange jerseys with Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata. I imagine it was a sign of respect between the two after a busy evening doing battle. Mailata got his pads off with relative ease, but Vea had some issues.

Michael Bennett is known in part for his decision to go with super small pads. It makes it harder for an offensive lineman to grab and hold, and potentially makes him just a little bit quicker. It would appear Vea might follow that practice, and while it works well when battling an offensive lineman, it does not work so well when it comes time to get the pads off.

Thankfully, he had someone there to assist him because those pads absolutely were not coming off without some assistance!