For new Seahawks guard Robert Gallery, looks aren't everything
He may look like a Hells Angel, but he's truly a product of the American heartland. And people are looking at him in Seattle for a very different reason. Gallery was hand-picked by the coaching staff to play the position that has been Seattle's little black hole for five years.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Robert Gallery has a beard long enough to comb, and a bachelor's degree in education from Iowa.
His hair hangs down past his shoulders, and he is tattooed down the length of his left arm. He's also an Eagle Scout who has envisioned himself perhaps teaching elementary school.
The Seahawks' new guard may look like a Hells Angel, but he's truly a product of the American heartland.
He grew up on an 800-acre farm in Masonville, Iowa, a small town on the county line with not many more than 100 residents. There's a grain elevator in town, a fish fry that's open on the weekends and a few double takes whenever a certain NFL lineman is in town.
"You definitely get some looks and some funny comments when I go back home," Gallery said.
People are looking at him in Seattle for a very different reason. Gallery signed with the Seahawks as a free agent from the Raiders, hand-picked by the coaching staff to play the position that has been Seattle's little black hole for five years. Maybe Gallery can finally stop the spontaneous cursing that tends to afflict a Seahawks fan when Steve Hutchinson's name is mentioned.
Gallery is 6 feet 7 and 325 pounds, and he will be the 11th different player Seattle has started at left guard since that guy left for Minnesota. The Seahawks used four players at the spot last year.
His job is to provide more than stability, though.
Gallery played under Tom Cable, Seattle's new offensive line coach, the past four years in Oakland. At 31, Gallery is the veteran of this group. He's the one who can tell the other linemen that Cable's demanding style will not wane, but it will produce results.
It was Cable who changed the course of Gallery's career. The No. 2 overall choice out of Iowa in the 2004 draft, Gallery played tackle his first three seasons and was being called a bust.
When Cable arrived as Oakland's line coach in 2007, it took only a couple of days of practice before the coach saw Gallery's future at guard.
"His size, his power inside, convinced me right away that here's a guy that can really play guard," Cable said. "And the left-guard position in this league is very important."
That's something this city understands well after Hutchinson's departure to Minnesota in 2006. The Seahawks have tried all sorts of remedies since then. They promoted a veteran from within in Floyd Womack; they drafted Rob Sims; and they signed veteran free agents like Mike Wahle in 2008 and Ben Hamilton last year.
The position has been a turnstile, which is about the last thing a spot on the offensive line should resemble.
Gallery was signed to put a stop to that, and to help season an offensive line where the four other projected starters have a combined 27 regular-season starts. Plus, Gallery knows what it takes to succeed under Cable.
"If you're a tough, hard-nosed guy that likes to get after it and get dirty and do the things that a real offensive lineman should do," Gallery said, "then you're perfect for this."
It's a role that Gallery has grown into. He weighed 215 pounds as a high-school senior, back when he was living on the big farm in that small Iowa town. Gallery played tight end, the position he stayed at until his second year at Iowa.
"He would do whatever you would want him to do," said Mike Stafford, Gallery's coach at Winthrop High School. "He always gave you everything he had."
Some things have changed, though.
"When he was in high school, he was clean shaven, short hair," Stafford said.
Don't let his appearance fool you. He may look like a roadie for a heavy-metal band, but he's 100 percent from the heartland.
"I don't pretend to be a bad boy," Gallery said.
He just plays like one on the field.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.orgThursday
Exhibition: Seahawks @ Chargers, 5 p.m., ESPN, JOEtv
|Seattle has started 10 different players at left guard over the previous five seasons, the most starter turnover at any one position from 2006 to 2010:|
|Right defensive end||7|
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
The Seattle Times Historical Archives
Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984
Career Center Blog
Sign up for our newsletter
Get creative suggestions for making your house a home weekly in your inbox!