Gallery a tackle no more?

Robert Gallery's career as an offensive tackle in the NFL might be over.

The Raiders aren't saying for sure but it's looking more and more as if the former No. 2 overall draft pick is headed for a future at guard.

Gallery spent all of Tuesday's offseason workout at left guard while veteran Barry Sims and second-year player Paul McQuistan handled the tackle spots with Oakland's first-team offense.

"We were told they're gonna try different things," Gallery said after the two-hour practice ended. "Obviously they're trying to make their minds up. All I'm worried about is being the best pro player I can be."

If Gallery is moved to guard, it would be just the latest twist in his NFL career, one that has seen him go from being the most coveted and highly touted offensive lineman coming out of college in more than a decade to a player many are calling a bust.

Drafted to be the cornerstone of the Raiders' offensive line as the team's left tackle, Gallery played at right tackle in the second half of his first NFL game, taking over for a struggling Langston Walker. Gallery also spent time at left guard in that game when former Raider Frank Middleton cramped up in the second half. Since then, the 26-year-old Gallery has been on a position rollercoaster. He started 31 games at right tackle during his first two seasons before moving back to left tackle prior to 2006.

Gallery and Sims shared time at both tackle positions earlier this offseason and it appeared the Raiders coaching staff was preparing to have Gallery at right tackle. It wasn't until earlier this week that Gallery was told he'd be working at guard.

"It could be permanent," Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin said. "We're looking at a lot of different options. There's a bunch of different scenarios to go through. We're trying to find the best guys and making sure that guys are at the right positions, because you don't know if you don't try.

"Every day we keep moving guys in different rotations, see different guys working together, getting a feel for guys and how they work with other guys and other spots as well."

Gallery is also dealing with yet another change in coaches. The Raiders brought in NFL veteran Tom Cable to overhaul what was the league's worst line in 2006, the fifth different coach in five years Gallery has had to work with dating back to his final year in college.

Gallery even went back to college earlier this offseason and worked out with Iowa coach Kirk Ferrentz.

"Things are definitely different," Gallery said of working with Cable. "It's more aggressive. We get a lot of work done, fly around. He wants us to be fast and get on people fast and get ‘em running. You can see just watching practice how much faster we are, and the movement it's getting in our team period and getting guys open for runs."

Gallery isn't ruling a return to tackle out, either, though it seems more likely he'll head to training camp in Napa as a guard.

"He's gone in there (and has a) nasty demeanor, gets after it, and gets guys on the ground," Kiffin said. "As a guard (he) fits our system as well where maybe in some systems he wouldn't. But in our system we think he could play guard or tackle."

Gallery simply just wants to find one spot and call it home.

"As a player you'd like to know as soon as possible," he said. "But this is the NFL, they've got decisions to make as far as the franchise and their going to make them as soon as they can. Whenever that is, if that's tomorrow or two weeks from now, we have a lot of time until training camp."

Other practice notes:

* Wide receiver Ronald Curry did not work out because of a sore hamstring. Fellow wideout Mike Williams, obtained in a draft-day trade with Detroit, has also been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Asked if the team's recent signing of former first-round draft pick Travis Taylor should send a signal to Williams, Kiffin replied: "You'd have to ask Mike. I would think so."

* Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson won't fly to Oakland for a visit with the Raiders after all. Johnson, cut earlier this offseason by Carolina, had been mulling an offer from Tennessee and was in talks with Oakland about a potential contract but instead announced his retirement Tuesday and will work at ESPN as an NFL analyst.

"We were exploring," Kiffin said. "I had three good conversations with Keyshawn about it, and it just didn't work out."

* Stuart Schweigert is getting a long look at strong safety while last year's first-round draft pick, Michael Huff, is getting reps in at free safety. Like the offensive line, however, the Raiders aren't tipping their hands as to which way they'll go with the positions.

"We have to figure out who is going to be the best in the spot," Kiffin said. "We played them both there. We played Stuart down more than he had in the past early in these camps and OTA days to see how it looked with Michael back at free. We're still figuring it out."

* Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess were among the most notable absentees from the offseason team activities but Kiffin didn't seem too concerned. Back-up center Jeremy Newberry was also missing due to a family situation.

* California head coach Jeff Tedford attended the practice.


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