After it is all said and done the career of Robert Gallery will be looked at as disappointing. Now that might sound unfair considering he made a living playing pro football for nearly a decade. A lot of guys are lucky to get three years. So all things being considered Gallery has nothing to apologize for.
To be honest, disappointing is a compliment when compared to bust. For the first few years of his career the so-called can’t-miss-prospect out of Iowa missed worse than Walter White Jr. in the shot put.
Not all was Gallery’s fault. Some guys just aren’t cut out for the speed of the pro game. A lot of success in the NFL is right place right time too. Gallery happened to arrive in Oakland when the term stability was a dirty word.
No excuses though. Gallery’s life as a left tackle was short lived.
Now to his credit Gallery accepted a new role as a guard and a pay cut just to prove he still belonged in the game. While he never made a Pro Bowl as promised when Al Davis took him second overall in 2004, Gallery was a solid run blocker.
Even better than Gallery’s transition to guard was the work he did in the community during his time in the East Bay. Gallery helped organize an event to benefit the families of police officers that died in the line of duty. Classy stuff no matter how you view his football career.
In the end the injury bug bit Gallery and it was all but over once the Raiders finally severed ties. He wanted more money than Mr. Davis was willing to pay so the Raiders sent him on his way. Perhaps feeling a certain sense of responsibility got Gallery’s new career path, Tom Cable convinced his new employer in Seattle to give Gallery a shot. Again injury intervened and by the start of the 2012 Gallery was again looking for work. The Pats and Bill Belichcik gave him one last chance and Gallery opted to walk away from the game without even getting through a month of training camp. His limitations had finally exceeded his abilities.
Robert Gallery retired from the NFL today. Though his career will always be a warning sign of hype and overblown expectations that roll around every April there is no substituting dedication. Plenty of guys get labeled as busts. Most of them spend less time in the NFL than the months of hype that follows their path to the NFL from college. For them they don’t get to retire. They’re told they just can’t play anymore
Saying Gallery’s career was disappointing might be an insult but at least he had one to retire from.