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A closer look at what Robert Gallery’s decision to retire means for the Patriots

08.04.12 at 7:22 pm ET
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Robert Gallery‘€™s decision to retire after eight seasons isn’€™t much of a surprise, particularly to those who watched him through the first week-plus of camp with New England.

In his brief tenure with the Patriots, the second overall pick in the 2004 draft (who was acquired by New England as a free agent on March 21) bounced back and forth between the first- and second-team offensive lines, and was mostly mediocre. Whether that was the fact that he was getting used to a new system, struggling to get acclimated to his new teammates or simply had nothing left in the tank, it was clear that he was having issues with the Patriots. Now, we know why — it just wasn’€™t there anymore.

To his credit, instead of mailing it in and trying to half-ass his way through a season for a paycheck (he signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $1 million, that included a $400,000 signing bonus, $300,000 roster bonus and $100,000 workout bonus), he did the right thing and decided to hang them up.

Even though the immense Gallery (6-foot-7, 320 pounds) brought some positional versatility to the field — he had played both guard and tackle over the course of his career — he was used exclusively at guard for the Patriots, who were clearly looking for someone to help bring some stability to the position while the situation involving incumbent guards Logan Mankins (who has been sidelined with a knee injury since the Super Bowl) and Brian Waters (not in camp) is resolved.

Going forward, those who stand to benefit the most from Gallery’€™s departure are fellow guards Donald Thomas (who appeared to be making very good progress as of late last week — it was Thomas who worked with the first team when Gallery was bumped down to the second unit), Ryan Wendell (who has bounced back and forth between backup guard and backup center) and Dan Connolly (who can play guard and center, but was playing guard almost exclusively through the first week of camp). All three will likely see a bump in playing time as a result of Gallery’€™s decision.

One player who also stands to benefit is Dan Koppen. Koppen figured to get some heat from Connolly, who can play center and has done well there in part-time action in the past. Now, it’€™s more likely that Connolly’€™s efforts will be concentrated on the guard position.

Read More: 2012 Training Camp, Robert Gallery,
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