FOXBORO - Coming out of Iowa in 2004, Robert Gallery was seen as the perfect NFL tackle. On the right as a road grader or the left as a blindside protector, he was a can't-miss prospect. See here, and here.
A 6-7, 317-pound Eagle Scout, Gallery, said one NFC GM at the time, "Might be one of those rare guys who seems too good to be true and who really is exactly what he appears to be."
To think his final NFL stop might be in Canton, Ohio wasn't absurd. But the closest he may get is Canton, Mass.
He's been far from a bust but he's never lived up to the billing either. In his first two seasons in the league, he was a very good right tackle. But in 2006, he was flipped to left tackle and was a disaster.
Ironically, the Patriots former left tackle - Matt Light - retired this week. His inability to switch from left to right in the NFL is something Bill Belichick's often referenced.
Gallery's proven himself a very, very good NFL run blocker. He couldn't deal with speed on the left edge.
"It is what it is," Gallery said Thursday. "You're put into a situation and we allknow that winning and being part of a winning team gets you a lot of (personal accolades). Obviously it hasn't been ideal but you play the cards you're dealt andI'm just glad for the opportunity to come to a place like this. I still knowI've got a lot left in me."Signed to a one-year deal, Gallery will probably first be tabbed as the replacement for Logan Mankins as the right guard heals from his ACL surgery. When Mankins returns, it would appear Gallery would be ticketed as a backup unless Brian Waters does not return for the 2012 season at right guard.
Gallery's not planning on coming off the bench.
"I've been told that they're gonna put thebest five guys on the field so I'm gonna be one of the best five guys, that'smy goal and they're gonna put guys where they see fit," he explained. Gallery had a groin injury at the start of the 2011 season that limited his usefulness with the Seahawks. He says he's all healed.
"I'm coming here like every place I've been," said Gallery. "I'm coming in to earn a startingspot and there's a lot of things that go into that - staying healthy andperforming well - but that's why I'm here. Everybody has their goals and I camehere to be a starter and contribute."Gallery was polite when asked about having had a career that didn't follow the script most saw. But he didn't love the questions.
"If you're drafted high you're gonna have a lot put on you," he said. "It is what it is, itwas a long time ago, obviously I don't care. I'm gonna work to do the things Ican do and make the best of the situation I'm in so it is what it is and whatother people think of you it doesn't really matter. "