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.
T-minus 2 days.
The clock has started and the Chargers are up. Or is it the Giants? The Redskins? The rumors are running higher than ever this week. Are the Chargers going to be the first team to select in the 2004 draft; is there any validity to the Eli Manning story; and if so how does that affect everything else? That is all I am hearing now. At this point I just want this whole saga to play out and let me know where I will be next year. I am not really nervous right now as much as I am overly anxious. My family and I left for New York this morning (April 22), and will begin to watch this dream unfold in front of us.
In getting ready for this trip, I realized that I was going to be out there for at least three days and would probably be attending a few events in which my Dickies gear might not be the most appropriate attire. So I went to my closet to pull out the dress clothes only to realize that I don't have anything besides the custom made suit from Elevee that I am wearing to the draft. Once I made this discovery, I had to make an emergency run to the mall. You must remember that I am 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, so you can probably imagine that most stores don't carry my sizes. Luckily, I was able to find a Big n'Tall store that came through in the clutch. Now I have about one outfit per day, so I'm going to have to be extra careful and not spill anything on myself. Otherwise, I will either be wearing the same thing more than once or walking around with big stains on myself. Maybe with that first new check, I'll pop for a couple of suits or something.
But have no fears, the vintage '84 Buick (with a couple of beauty marks to show for its wear n' tear over its brief 20 years) is not being put to rest as some may suspect as I move towards a life in the NFL. However, I did get another car. One that is a little more reliable on those long road trips, or anything over 30 minutes for that matter. One that is sure to start every time, at least without any hassle.
I just picked up my brand new Chevy Avalanche from Pat McGrath Dealership in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But this isn't your mama's Avalanche. I didn't get all that plastic stuff on the sides like most of them have. And then my good friend Ron at Cy & Charlie's in Independence, Iowa hooked me up with the brand new, just released, Jesse James dub deuces (that's 22 inch rims on the tires for those trying to figure that out). I know you are reading this thinking, "I had no clue you could get rims in Iowa." Well you can't really. Ron was able to order them and get them shipped there by the time I brought the car in. I was thinking about adding the TVs and video game systems, but I think I'm going to hold off for now.
The last few days have been crazy. On Monday, I was on the Fox Sports Show and had the best damn time of my life. It was great to see Tom Arnold again. He is such a big Hawkeye fan and huge supporter of our program. I left him with two of my autographed jerseys, and he was bouncing off the walls over them. I had the most fun off camera during the commercials when everyone was joking around. It was a long time dream of mine to get on there and I appreciate them for having me. So John Salley, do I get your approval on the car?
On my way back from L.A., while waiting in the airport -- what would an entry be without an airport story -- I had another guy come up to me with a Sporting News Magazine and ask me if it was me on the cover. Not too many guys look like me so it is kind of hard to lie and say no it's not. All of this media attention is beyond me. I never in a million years thought an offensive lineman, let alone me, would garner this much attention going into the draft.
Just when I think the articles and attention had stopped, The Sporting News released covers of their magazine with myself, Manning, and Larry Fitzgerald on it. This is the second time I've been featured in there and it has been an honor. As this media tour winds down, well the pre-draft aspect of it at least, I would like to thank everyone who has done any kind of story or feature on me, whether it was print, radio, or television. I would have never thought people would actually be interested. It's amazing how this whole process has gone.
Before I forget, I also want to thank the good people over at Budweiser for the custom-made gift that they did for me at my brother's request.
The next time we speak, the rumors should have ceased and the anxiety should have subsided. And most importantly I will know which uniform I will be putting on next season. When my name is called, it will be the beginning and the end all in the same moment. Kind of exciting.
Ok, I have to stop thinking about this and focus on the crisis at hand. Where in the world are my silk boxers?