When one first encounters former Oakland Raiders and new Seattle Seahawks left guard Robert Gallery, it wouldn't surprise to learn that this 6-foot-7, 325-pound dude with a long, bushy beard and long hair picked up an affinity for bikes and biker culture during his seven-year stint with the Raiders. And once certain members of the FX show "Sons of Anarchy" discovered that the Raiders were big fans of the show that comes off like a cross between "Easy Rider" and "The Sopranos," the two groups started to interface.
I found this out when I did a Shutdown Corner podcast last September with Theo Rossi, who played some safety in college and had become friends with Gallery.
"I just got off the phone with Robert Gallery a little while ago," Rossi told me. "I mean, I love the Raiders … Gallery actually came down and did an extra role on the show. He's actually in a scene with me in the Samcro [the short name of the club on the show] cut. That was pretty major to me. First, he's enormous. Second, he's just the nicest guy in the world.
"You know, he's definitely had a harder time in the league — going from tackle to guard, and being a high pick in the draft, and dealing with the Raiders organization, which has always been … a very big topic of conversation. But, to me, the Raiders are still the Raiders — 'Just Win, Baby' and all that. They still kick ass and play football the way it's supposed to be played — or at least they used to! Getting to meet Gallery and working with him was so amazing. Just talking to him. A lot of the guys [in the NFL] — definitely Oakland — they're Samcro fans, and it's kinda cool."
It was cool for Gallery, too — he talked with me about it at the Seahawks' practice facility a few days after his signing became official.
"Yeah, I got a chance to go down and hang out [in Southern California] with those guys, which was awesome," he said. "I'm a big fan of the show, and I do like bikes, and I was in the background in one of the scenes. I got to see what they do, and see how shows are made."
Gallery didn't remember which episode he was in (we're going to try and get someone from FX to pinpoint it and get us a video clip), just that it was "one of the last two or three in the last season. It was one of the episodes [when the show was set] in Ireland, but only in the show were we in Ireland. You have to look pretty hard to see me, because they cut a lot of that stuff out; hopefully I'll get a little bit more face time next time."
Appearances can deceive with Gallery. While he looks like a natual fit with Jax, Bobby Elvis and Opie, he's a thoughtful, articulate person — "My mom would be upset if I wasn't well-spoken" -- and the only place he's taken a chopper lately is on location for a television show. These days, he prefers the safer option of classic and custom cars. "But I love bikes, and sometime down the road, I'll get one."
Right now, he's all about football, and that's where his intelligence really shows up. While new CBA rules prevent him from practicing with his new team until Thursday, he's been acting as an assistant coach every day on the field.
"All I care about is winning and getting a chance to get the things that I want to do individually, which will come with winning," he said of the opportunity to move from Oakland to Seattle and reunite with Tom Cable, his old line coach and head coach with the Raiders — Cable is now in charge of Seattle's line and running game. Gallery, the second overall pick in the 2004 draft, credits Cable with turning his career around by moving him to guard in 2006 after he bounced back and forth between right and left tackle in 2004 and 2005.
"This is a great situation. I enjoyed my time in Oakland, but when this opportunity came along I knew it was a great choice. It was a no-brainer for me."