INDIANAPOLIS – Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk intends to continue his NFL career after contemplating retirement, according to his agent, Joe Linta.
Birk, 35, decided to return after weighing his options since the Baltimore Ravens’ AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots.
“Matt feels great,” agent Joe Linta told the Carroll County Times at 4 p.m. Saturday. “The Ravens want him back. We’re going to try to work something out with the Ravens before free agency starts.”
Birk is an unrestricted free agent, so the Ravens will have to negotiate a contract. That’s not expected to be a problem.
The Ravens are still expected to bolster the center position through free agency or the NFL draft.
“Before we line up and play in 2012, there will be another center on this football team in some capacity, free agency, draft or whatever,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
Birk has dealt with hip, knee and neck problems, but the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is healthy now. He has started 96 consecutive games.
“We want to have him back if he wants to come back,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He got through the year healthy and we think he can still play. We need a center and he’s a great guy. We want him back.”
The Harvard graduate may undergo relatively minor leg surgery this offseason.
“Matt Birk is looking at getting his varicose veins fixed,” Harbaugh said. “His legs might be looking a lot better if and when he comes back.”
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