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Gallery gone, Oakland has to work on line

3/3/2011

It seems like Oakland Raiders fans will have to get used to the thought of Robert Gallery not being in Oakland as the team is dealing with major change on the offensive line.

The long-time Oakland guard told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he and Oakland owner Al Davis have agreed that it’s time that Gallery moves on in free agency.

“With the end of the league year coming today, and the few conversations I’ve had with the Raiders and Mr. Davis, we’ve come to a mutual agreement that it’s time for me to move on with my career,” Gallery said Thursday. “I appreciate the start that they and Mr. Davis gave me and I truly have enjoyed my time wearing the silver and black. I wish them well, I thank the fans and I take away great memories of my time in Oakland.

“I’m looking for a new start somewhere else, to experience another place, and to be able to accomplish some of the things I want. It’s best for everyone.”

Gallery was the No. 2 pick in the 2004 draft, taken ahead of superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald went one pick later to Arizona. Gallery struggled as a left tackle, but he found a comfort zone as a guard. He is Oakland’s best lineman, although left tackle Jared Veldheer showed promise as a rookie.

Oakland has many holes on the offensive line and it should be a focus in the draft and in free agency -- if the Raiders, who have spent a lot of money keeping their free agents, have anything left to spend. Oakland probably will give 2010 fourth-round pick Bruce Campbell a chance to win a guard spot and a player like Penn State center/guard Stefen Wisniewski could be a target with Oakland’s top pick at No. 48. He is the nephew of former Raiders offensive lineman Steve Wisniewski, who is now Oakland’s assistant offensive line coach.

Seattle has to be considered a top landing spot for Gallery. Former Oakland coach Tom Cable is now the Seahawks’ offensive line coach/assistant head coach. Seattle has a need at guard and Gallery and Cable are very close.

Oakland has to deal with several free agents, including star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Other free agents include tight end Zach Miller, safety Michael Huff and running back Michael Bush.

UPDATE: The Raiders said Gallery’s departure from Oakland is based on salary. The Raiders said Gallery wanted way too much to stay in Oakland.