Prior to the 2004 NFL draft, Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery was considered the surest of the sure things on the draft board. Gallery, who went second overall to the Raiders after Eli Manning went first, was almost unanimously viewed as both the safest bet on the board and the most likely player in that draft class to develop into a Pro Bowler.
As it turned out, Gallery was the only player of the first eight drafted that year who hasn’t made a Pro Bowl. Gallery has been a starter for his entire NFL career, but instead of becoming the franchise left tackle everyone expected, he’s been a better fit at guard, and he’s had a hard time staying healthy.
Gallery will turn 32 this summer, but he doesn’t see himself as being on the down side of his career. Instead, Gallery thinks that signing with the Patriots in March gives him his best chance to end his career on his terms.
“Obviously it hasn’t been ideal, but you play with the cards you are dealt and I’m just glad for the opportunity to come to a place like this and still know that I’ve got a lot left in me,” Gallery told the Boston Herald.
Gallery knows he’s viewed as a disappointment considering the expectations, but he says he’s past that.
“If you are drafted high then you are going to have a lot put on you,” Gallery said. “I mean it is what it is, that was a long time ago. Honestly I don’t really care. I’m going to come out and do the things that I know I can do and do the best with the situation that I’m in. You come in and whatever people think of you, to me it doesn’t really matter.”
In New England, Gallery thinks he’ll be a good fit, and a starter.
“It was a good fit for both of us,” Gallery said. “I’ve been told that they are going to put the best five guys on the field. I’m going to be one of the best five guys, that’s my goal.”
Being one of the best five guys on the Patriots isn’t quite the same as being the best offensive lineman in the entire league, which is how he was projected before the 2004 draft. But starting on a playoff team would be a first for Gallery, and he has a good chance to do that in New England.