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OT has no fun sitting in airports

4/15/2004

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.

Another day, another delay.

Normally, I am a very patient person, but all of these delays are really starting to bother me. Sitting in an airport for four or five hours has never really been my idea of a good time. This time I'm coming to you live from Denver International Airport, trying to remain as low key and comfortable as a 6-foot-7, 320-pound guy can in these stiff airport chairs. They say I only have another hour and a half left to wait, but I don't believe anything anymore until we are in the air, and even those have gone bad for me.

I am on my way to visit with another team. Because of this delay, I will arrive at my destination late tonight, which is no good considering my return flight is scheduled for early afternoon tomorrow. Looks like this will either be one of those short meetings or there will be a lot of talking on the car rides to and from the airport.

With all of this traveling, my days in Iowa City have been numbered. My training has taken a back seat at times, but I still get it in whenever I am at school. Coach Chris Doyle has been great in working with me at odd times. We will do one workout Friday evening when I return from this current trip. We also have one planned for Saturday morning, before I go watch my brother play at the spring game. It will be interesting to see how the Hawkeyes do next year. We have some very talented players returning, as well as ones with great potential whose turn it is to step up. As long as everyone plays to their ability, which I know coach Kirk Ferentz will have them doing, the Hawkeyes will be a dangerous team. No matter where I am next year, I will surely be watching them on Saturdays.

As the days get closer, I begin to wonder more and more about my future. Where I will be, what number I will be selected, and what life in the NFL will be like. With less than 10 days until the draft, the rumors are nonstop. Everyday there is something new. Every analyst has a scenario, a trade rumor, or "knows" who is going to be doing what. I don't even think that a lot of these teams know exactly what they will be doing come draft day at this point. I try not to pay attention to it all. I feel as though I have proven my abilities and skills. The rest is up to the teams. It is out of my hands at this point.

Ok, now I did just say that I do not pay attention to what everyone is saying about me, but one of my buddies told me about an offensive linemen draft preview that SportsCenter did the other day. Apparently, one of the "experts" said that my weakness was in my lower body. That sounds like a challenge to me. So for anyone who agrees with him, you can either contact our strength coach, Coach Doyle, to get his opinion or contact me and I will be more than happy to take it to the weight room and squat for you. (Reminds me of the combine bench pressing).

Sorry for the digression.

One of the craziest things I have noticed about this whole experience is how much more I am recognized in public. From sitting in the airport and having people shout my name and wish me well as they walk by to standing in a book store and having people ask me if that is me on the cover of a magazine. It has all been mindblowing to me. My face has been plastered in the New York Times, USA Today, ProFootball Weekly, and ESPN the Magazine. It is way too much for this farm boy to grasp. But of course, I appreciate all of the support and love the fans are showing me. I guess I never realized how much attention people pay to all of the pre-draft media that goes on.

Before I forget, I also wanted to thank the Sporting News for its feature story on me. Amidst all of the confusion and chaos that has been going on in my life, from the team visits, to taking care of my family and the numerous media requests I have obliged, I have not tried to leave anyone out, but it happens.

Next Monday (April 19), I'll be off to Los Angeles for the Fox Sports Program where I will be reunited with my fellow Iowan, as I mentioned last week. Then it's time to get ready for the big show.

Until then, I will be doing what I do best -- waiting for flights.

Hold on, what was that? That sounds like the voice of one of my friends. Oh yes, it is. I think it's time for me to stop neglecting him and go talk to my good buddy I like to call, "The Bar."