CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora broke the surprising news on Twitter.
Patriots announce G Robert Gallery retires. Even more uncertainty on their offensive line now— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 4, 2012
Looking back now, it's all but impossible to call Gallery's career anything but a letdown. He entered the league in 2004 as one of the top offensive line prospects to come out of college in decades, and he never came close to producing at the level that many expected of him.
The 6'7", 325-pound guard started all but one of his 104 career games after being the No. 2 overall selection in the 2004 draft by the Oakland Raiders, picked ahead of stars like Larry Fitzgerald, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Jonathan Vilma.
The Raiders line struggled with Gallery, as he let up the fourth most sacks in the league in 2006 despite missing six games. He was the leader of Oakland's offensive line that struggled mightily in his tenure that ended in 2010.
He then joined the Seattle Seahawks on a three-year deal prior to the 2011 season, but was released in March after another disappointing season. But not many expected the 2011 season to be his last.
The Patriots will have to move quickly in order to replace Gallery, who they signed to bolster an offensive line that is quickly aging. They signed the 32-year-old guard earlier this offseason, and Gallery ended up not playing a down for the Pats.
New England should now scramble to pick up a veteran guard and partake in some damage control if they want to protect Tom Brady and get to another Super Bowl in 2012.