Gallery: Don't let this slender body fool you

Iowa draft prospect Robert Gallery writes about his preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine and draft.

Updated: February 19, 2004, 2:48 PM ET
By Robert Gallery | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery, last year's Outland Trophy winner and projected high first-round pick in April's NFL draft, will chronicle his pre-draft experiences for ESPN.com.

Robert Gallery
Robert Gallery celebrates after winning the Outback Bowl.
Since our victory against Florida in the Outback Bowl, I have been working out in Iowa City and training with our speed and strength coordinator, Chris Doyle. I selected Priority Sports in Chicago, Ill., to represent me, and they have helped me prepare for the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. My agent, Rick Smith, gave me the opportunity to train anywhere I wanted, but I felt Coach Doyle is the best in the country at his job. He has done a lot for Iowa's program and is a big reason why our team had so much success last season. He has trained a number of guys who have set combine records and excelled in the NFL. By working out at Iowa, I have been able to stay close to home, which has been great.

My training and preparation have been very intense. For the past six weeks, I have been going hard at it; Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I don't think many people, including those close to me, understand how hard I want to work and how hard I need to work. My career has started. I have already graduated, so most people think I just sit around all day, do nothing and spend tons of money. First of all, I don't have much money. I still drive the same beat-up Buick I have always driven, which I don't plan on getting rid of even when I do have some cash. I'm not even at home much to relax since I'm usually either training or getting treatment. Well, that is not completely true. I have had some time to build a couple of snowmen outside of my apartment complex. But other than that, I have given my all for these six weeks in preparation for the combine and my NFL career.

Some people have questioned why I did not participate in the Senior Bowl. It was great to be invited to the game but after talking to some league personnel as well as with Rick, I decided it would be in my best interests to stay in Iowa and train. I could have come out of school last year and been a high draft pick, but I choose to come back to school. I looked at every game this season as my all-star game. Each time on the field was another chance to show my skills to scouts and show what made me stand out from other players in the country. By the time the Senior Bowl rolled around, I felt that I had shown teams all I could in game situations. There was also the risk of injury, which I didn't want to chance.

I took a couple of days off from training last week to attend the Walter Camp All-American Banquet in New Haven, Conn. It was a great honor to attend because of everything Walter Camp did for football. Players from all over the country were invited. Some attended and some couldn't make it for different reasons, but I felt like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a great way to cap off my collegiate career. Besides, it gave me a reason to finally slip into a tuxedo.

In regards to the combine, I am very confident in my abilities and plan on showing scouts a few things they may not know about me. I don't think teams know how athletic and fast I really am. Don't let this slender 320-pound body fool you; I'm quicker than your average lineman. Coach Doyle has put me through all the combine drills that I will be tested on and I feel good about them. The drills were not anything new for me because Coach had us run them throughout the year anyway. Other than running the drills, I'm looking forward to the interviews with whichever teams want to talk to me. I've been warned about some of the off-the-wall questions that may be thrown my way to try to catch me off guard, but I may have some answers up my sleeve to keep them on their toes, as well. I'm just going to be the same guy that I've always been. I look forward to the interviews to show the NFL the real person behind the long hair.

That should do it for now. I'm off to get more treatment and pack for the combine. I'll write more upon my return from Indianapolis next week and maybe offer some tips on building the biggest snowmen -- if you are lucky.

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