OWINGS MILLS — Joe Namath once created a memorable stir when the New York Jets quarterback legend donned pantyhose for a popular commercial.
It’s unlikely that Baltimore Ravens six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk will rival Broadway Joe in the advertising game, but the veteran blocker did upgrade his legs this offseason.
Birk had surgery in June to deal with varicose veins in his legs, something that had plagued the 36-year-old for several seasons.
"Well, you guys can tell that my legs are tiptop now," Birk said with a smile Tuesday.
"Fueling multiple offers to model them both."
Jokes aside, Birk is already feeling the rejuvenating effects of the procedure.
He would get tired due to the rigors of an NFL season last year.
"I feel better," Birk said. "They say it will help me feel better during the season. My leg won’t get as fatigued or swollen. It’s a good thing."
Birk practiced without limitations Tuesday as rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans from season opened training camp.
Birk has had issues in the past with knee, neck, elbow and ankle injuries and had arthroscopic surgery a year ago on his left knee.
Birk denied that his legs were a factor in struggling against New England Patriots heavyweight defensive lineman Vince Wilfork during the Ravens’ AFC championship game loss at Gillette Stadium.
Wilfork was extremely disruptive that day, registering six tackles, including three for losses, as he busted through the line past Birk and Pro Bowl guards Marshal Yanda and Ben Grubbs.
"None," Birk said when asked if his legs were an issue. "It was none. That’s all I can say."
After missing nearly the entire preseason last year, Birk arrived at team headquarters in much better health.
Signed to a three-year, $8.525 million contract in March, the Harvard graduate seemed energized as he enters his 15th NFL season even though camp is something he’s done so many times.
"I think you understand that it does have a purpose, and as much as you might try and deceive yourself as a player and think that you don’t need it, you do. It’s important from a team standpoint to be out here and going through the two-a-days and doing the hard stuff, putting your body through it to get it ready, kind of get it calloused, get it ready to endure the physical rigors of the season. To be honest with yourself, you embrace it. It’s part of the process and also to your biological clock, it ticks this time of year, late July, August. As a football player, you’re supposed to be sweating on the football field."