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Gallery: New England is a team ‘I’ve always wanted to be a part of’

05.10.12 at 4:15 pm ET
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It looks like there’s another No. 72 in town.

When he met the media for the first time as a Patriot on Thursday, offensive lineman Robert Gallery was wearing gear with Matt Light‘s old No. 72. There’s no guarantee that’ll be his number when camp kicks off this summer, but regardless of what his number is, the second overall pick in the 2004 draft (who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots earlier this offseason) is excited to be in New England.

“It was a good fit for obviously both of us,” Gallery said. “I was excited when I got the call, it’s a place I’ve known about since college, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of.”

It’s no secret Bill Belichick fawned over Gallery when he was a highly-touted prospect at Iowa. Largely considered a “can’t-miss” pick, Gallery never lived up to the hype of being a cornerstone at left tackle in his six seasons with the Raiders. It doesn’t help that he has yet to be part of a team that finished with a winning record.  The 31 year-old is intent on moving on from past expectations, though, and embracing his future in New England.

“It’s one of the reasons I came here because we’ve never had a winning season in my eight years. That’s why you play this game, so that was a very big part of why I decided to come here. It hasn’t been ideal. But you play with the cards you’re dealt, and I’m just glad to have the opportunity to come to a place like this. I still know I have a lot left in me.

“If you’re drafted high, you’re going to have a lot put on you,” Gallery continued. “It is what it is, it was a long time ago. Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m going to work to do the things I know I can do and do the best with the situation I’m in. What other people think of me, doesn’t really matter.”

An issue for Gallery has been injuries. The past three seasons, Gallery has missed a total of 18 games. In any event, Gallery does provide two needed traits in the trenches: versatility and depth. Gallery has been effective both as a left guard and right tackle. Still, he’ll have to earn his spot protecting Tom Brady during training camp.

But the 6-foot-7 lineman has one other distinct advantage going into the next chapter of his career — Dante Scarnecchia. If there was ever a coach who could procure talent out of an offensive lineman, Scarnecchia would be the candidate to do it.

“I’ve been told [the coaches are] going to put the best five guys on the field,” Gallery said. “I’m going to be one of the best five guys, that’s my goal, and they’re going to put guys where they see fit.

“Everything is the same,” he said. “It’s just different terminology, just being able to listen to the quarterback. It’s been great [talking] with [Scarnecchia]. He’s my type of guy. He’s all about getting after guys and winning ball games.”

Both in his time with the Seahawks and in Oakland, Gallery, from all accounts, was viewed as a solid locker room presence. Consequently, his $1 million contract on a one-year deal doesn’t make him one of Belichick’s famous reclamation projects. Instead, he is just another player looking to win — something the Patriots have done a lot of these past 11 seasons.

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