Ravens fans saw this one coming—especially after we clinched a Super Bowl victory—but center Matt Birk announced today he's officially retiring.
Birk signed with the Ravens in 2009 and has been a consistently solid center (bleeding nose bridge and all) for our offense ever since.
"Matt Birk has been a huge part of this program for the last four years," Coach John Harbaugh said at media day in New Orleans. "To my eye, he is playing the best football that he's played since he’s been here—right now, at this point."
While the 6'4", 310-pound Harvard graduate was surely a quarterback's best friend on the field, Birk and Joe Flacco also developed a good rapport off of it.
In a 2012 Baltimore magazine article, Birk told us, "Joe's always been Joe," he says. "Joe might be a little bit quieter, but, at the same time, when Joe does speak up, he's doing it because he has something to say. It's kind of like the old E.F. Hutton ad: When Joe talks, people listen."
There were rumblings that Birk would retire last season, but he decided to give it another ago. And it sure paid off.
"I feel very fortunate to be playing this game and to be doing it with this group," Birk said at media day. "It's a special group of guys all the way around . . . everything really came together for us."
Thank you, Matt, for a great four years and a Super Bowl ring.
[Image: courtesy of Baltimore Ravens]