Veteran offensive lineman Robert Gallery, whom the New England Patriots had signed this offseason to provide insurance with starting left guard Logan Mankins recovering from offseason ACL surgery, announced his retirement Friday.
The 32-year-old Gallery had struggled in training camp. On Friday, he was flicked to the side by defensive lineman Vince Wilfork in one-on-one rush drills, landing on his backside. That highlighted some of his struggles.
Gallery played the first seven seasons of his career in Oakland, with the Raiders selecting him No. 2 overall in the 2004 draft out of Iowa. He spent 2011 in Seattle, which released him after the season despite Gallery having two additional years remaining on his contract.
The Patriots thought they might be able to squeeze another year out of Gallery, signing him to a one-year contract with a base salary of $1 million. The deal included a $400,000 signing bonus, $300,000 roster bonus and $100,000 workout bonus.
With Gallery officially retired, Mankins still on the physically unable to perform list and veteran guard Brian Waters not having reported to camp, the Patriots are without some of their most experienced players at guard.
Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Donald Thomas are three of the top healthy guards currently on the roster. If the Patriots play Connolly at guard, it could help veteran center Dan Koppen stick on the roster.
After Gallery's retirement and the placement of fullback Tony Fiammetta on the exempt/left squad list, the Patriots moved quickly to fill the two spots on their 90-man roster by signing defensive back Derrick Martin and running back Kareem Huggins.
Martin, 27, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with Baltimore (2006-08), Green Bay (2009-10) and the New York Giants (2011). He entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick (208th overall) of Baltimore out of Wyoming in the 2006 NFL draft.
Martin (5-10, 198) was traded by Baltimore to Green Bay on Sept. 5, 2009, for guard Tony Moll. He was cut by Green Bay on March 2, 2011, and signed with the Giants on Aug. 13, 2011.
Martin has played in 61 NFL games with four starts and has registered 30 total tackles, three interceptions and eight passes defensed. Last season with the Giants, he played in 14 games and all four postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots.
Huggins, 26, is a veteran of two NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-10). After originally joining the Buccaneers as a rookie free agent in 2009 out of Hofstra, the 5-foot-9, 198-pounder spent some time on the practice squad before joining the 53-man roster. He has played in six NFL games and has carried the ball four times for 11 yards. Huggins was out of football in 2011 with a serious right knee injury.
Fiammetta, who cannot play for the Patriots in 2012 after being placed on the exempt/left squad list, needs to take care of a family issue, according to a source.