Matt Birk announces retirement

birkbleed

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk has announced that he will retire after 15 NFL seasons. He made his announcement Friday morning at Battle Grove Elementary School, where he was in attendance to dedicate a community reading center.

Birk, originally drafted in 1998 by the Minnesota Vikings, spent his entire career in purple – though in two different shades.

The former Harvard Crimson standout spent his first 11 seasons as a Viking before joining the Ravens in 2009. Birk is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time All-Pro, a six-time Minnesota Vikings Man of the Year, the 2006 Ed Block Courage Award winner, and the 2011 Walter Payton Man of the Year winner.

Super Bowl XLVII was the first Super Bowl of Birk’s career, and he has chosen to ride off into the sunset rather than return to the NFL for a 16th year.

Birk has started every game since coming to the Ravens, and his absence leaves the team with a void in the middle of their offensive line. Second-year player Gino Gradkowski will likely be given every opportunity to win the starting spot in 2013, while the team will likely look to add inexpensive veteran insurance at the position.

A closer look at the Ravens’ offseason OL needs

Congratulations to Birk on finally reaching the top of the mountain in the NFL, and here’s wishing him a long and enjoyable life after football.

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About Derek Arnold

Derek Arnold
RSR/ESR Senior Editor. Derek is originally from and a current resident of Pasadena, MD. He’s a graduate of UMBC and has been a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. In 2007 he founded B’More Birds’ Nest, where he wrote about the Ravens and Orioles before joining RSR in 2012. Derek’s work has...more

5 Raves on “Matt Birk announces retirement

  1. poopchap on said:

    A great guy who will be missed. His intelligence at the line in making calls and fierce competitiveness set him apart from most of the centers during his career. I wish him the best and hope that Ozzie offers him an O-Line assistant job if he wants it. You don’t get let intelligent football people go easily.

  2. Josh on said:

    Looks like we’ll have the Delaware-to-Delaware connection for at least the next few seasons. Gino has been groomed by one of the best in the business, and I hope he realizes the opportunity that lies in front of him. I’d love to see him come to camp stronger and ready to take over.

  3. ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

    congratulations to a class act who had an outstanding career. In terms of quality of play and length of service, the best center the ravens have had (although i thought Jason Brown was the best for a single season).

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