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By Matt Vensel, The Baltimore Sun | August 2, 2012
Ravens center Matt Birk missed practice for a fourth consecutive day Thursday. The reason for his absence has not been disclosed, though head coach John Harbaugh said on Tuesday that the 36-year-old is at the stage of his career where he doesn't have to practice every day. Rookie Gino Gradkowski has been filling in for him at center. There was still no sign of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (hamstring) and offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie (back). Neither has practiced in training camp so far, though Harbaugh said Wednesday that Ngata is getting closer.
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By Aaron Wilson and The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2014
Retired former Ravens center Matt Birk is staying involved with the NFL. The six-time Pro Bowl center and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year was named the league's director of football development today. Birk spent this past year working as an appeals officer for the NFL and NFL Players Association after retiring in 2012 following the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Now the former Ravens and Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman will be involved in development of the game and administration of game-day operations.
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NEWS
June 11, 2013
Matt Birk's decision to use the national celebration of the Raven's astounding season as a vehicle for a political statement was uncalled for ("Birk explains D.C. absence," June 7). His "boycott" of the event was demeaning to his teammates and the organization. The idea that his appearing there would show support for President Barack Obama's stand on Planned Parenthood was ludicrous. It's sad that he chose to end his fine career with the Ravens in this manner. Kathy B. Kellogg
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By Matt Vensel, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2014
Former Ravens center Matt Birk, the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012 and a Super Bowl champion, will be back in the Baltimore area this Thursday for a signing for his new book, “All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices that Lead to Greatness.” The book, which Birk describes as “a manual to put people on their own path, their own journey for personal greatness,” was co-authored by his friend Rich Chapman. In advance of the book signing, Birk had a lengthy phone conversation with reporter Matt Vensel about the book, the 2013 Ravens and his thoughts on NFL prospect Michael Sam. MV: Many former players have talked about the tough transition into life after football, but it looks like you are staying busy by spending time with your family, writing a book, working for the NFL and, most notably, becoming a supermodel . A year removed from the Super Bowl, how is life treating you?
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By Matt Vensel | February 3, 2012
If Ravens center Matt Birk has decided to retire, he hasn't announced it yet. Birk has, however, decided to go zip-lining with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Birk, a candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, is in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl and hanging out with The Commish. This photo is courtesy of the NFL. Birk, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Bears cornerback Charles Tillman are among the finalists for the award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
NEWS
October 11, 2012
Ravens player Matt Birk's remarks on gay marriage were timely in relation to the vote coming up next month, but they are wrong ("Strengthening marriage," Oct. 8). Gay people are not asking for special rights but for society to acknowledge that gay couples deserve the same rights everyone else has. Everyone else is allowed to legally marry, such as couples of different races and divorced people. These marriages used to be against the law. As a gay Christian, I have known my whole life that I am different and that it was not my choice.
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By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun | August 3, 2012
Ravens coach John Harbaugh just met with reporters following practice and provided an update on several of his injured players: Cornerback Jimmy Smith, who left practice early yesterday, had his back lock up on him. Harbaugh said that it is a muscular issue that Smith also dealt with while playing at the University of Colorado. "It takes a couple of days usually for that to resolve," Harbaugh said. Center Matt Birk missed his fifth straight practice today and Harbaugh essentially ruled him out from next Thursday's preseason opener in Atlanta.
NEWS
By Matt Birk | October 26, 2012
On Nov. 6, Maryland voters will decide on whether to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. The potential implications of this amendment for our society are profound. Same-sex marriage is a polarizing issue and, in some instances, has deteriorated into an "us against them" debate. We must respectfully consider all viewpoints, which evoke strong emotions from both sides, because we cannot afford to get this wrong. It should be less about who is right or wrong and more about what is best for our society today and going forward.
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By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2013
For four years, six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk snapped the football to Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco. Since Birk retired in February, the veteran lineman has passed another valuable commodity onto Flacco with the sale of his Baltimore County home to the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback for $1.385 million, according to records. Flacco purchased the home from Birk earlier this year after the quarterback signed a $120.6 million contract that included a $29 million signing bonus and a total of $51 million in guaranteed money.
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By Ken Murray | October 12, 2011
Veteran Ravens center Matt Birk said Wednesday he will appeal a $5,000 fine from the NFL for failing to wear a microphone under his jersey as prescribed by the new collective bargaining agreement. Birk said he had problems with the microphone in warm-ups before the Jets game and when he couldn't get it corrected, he took the mic off. “When I went out for warm-ups, the microphone came loose and was jabbing my neck,” he said. “It was tucked in there pretty tight and I couldn't get it back in there, so I just took it off. Then I was notified that I'm not supposed to do that.” Birk received a letter about the fine on Monday.
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By Aaron Wilson and The Baltimore Sun | December 27, 2013
The continuing education of Ravens center Gino Gradkowski has involved everything from grappling with massive Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to making critical, last-second line calls to adjusting blocking assignments. Ever since six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk retired in February, Gradkowski has been learning on the job and experiencing growing pains while trying to hold his own against some of the biggest, most talented defensive linemen in the NFL. The center position demands a lot: intellect, technique and brute strength.
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By Matt Vensel | November 18, 2013
It has been a rough transition for the Ravens at the center position, going from one of the best centers of his generation in Matt Birk to second-year player Gino Gradkowski. That says more about how underrated Birk may have been in his final couple of years in Baltimore than it does about Gradkowski's struggles. But quietly, perhaps because the Ravens have been losing, Gradkowski has been improving at the position over the past few weeks. And his performance Sunday was probably his best of the season.
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The Baltimore Sun | October 18, 2013
In addition to keeping up with his six kids and working for the NFL as an appeals officer on player discipline, Matt Birk has apparently become even more of a fitness nut in retirement than he was as a player. After getting up to as much as 310 pounds during his final Super Bowl-winning season with the Ravens, he's now at 235 pounds and wants to become the cover model for a magazine backed by fitness company ViSalus, according to the Ravens' website . Here's what Birk told the site about losing weight and changing his lifestyle: “I wasn't going to go to Chipotle and get two burrito bowls at 9:30 at night anymore,” Birk joked.
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By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun | October 15, 2013
There were questions about how the Ravens would replace Ray Lewis and Ed Reed , Dannell Ellerbe and Bernard Pollard , Anquan Boldin and later Dennis Pitta . But few people asked this offseason about how the Ravens would replace retiring center Matt Birk . Teammates and coaches loved Birk, valuing not just his steady play and toughness, but also his intelligence and leadership. A 14-year pro who played four seasons in Baltimore, Birk did so much more than take on the top interior defensive linemen in the game.
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By Matt Vensel | September 10, 2013
Last Thursday, for the first time since the 2008 season, someone not named Matt Birk started for the Ravens at center. Gino Gradkowski, a second-year player out of small-school Delaware, made his first NFL start there. To the novice eye -- this writer included -- evaluating offensive line play can be a difficult endeavor, especially at center, where that player is in the middle of the mess and sometimes ends up blocking no one in particular. When I went back and watched the game again, I saw many plays when Gradkowski held his ground against big Denver Broncos defensive linemen Kevin Vickerson and Sylvester Williams.
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By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun | September 3, 2013
Terrell Davis remembers the feeling after tight end Shannon Sharpe left the Denver Broncos and joined the Ravens before the 2000 season. He vividly recalls the uncomfortable silence in the huddle and on the sideline, the blank looks exchanged between teammates, the lack of smiles and laughs that had been so commonplace even during trying times. "I'm telling you, it stripped our offense and basically our team of a personality and an identity when he left," said Davis, who rushed for 7,607 yards and scored 65touchdowns in seven seasons with the Broncos.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | May 11, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Ravens center Matt Birk, a Minnesota native, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Saturday night before the Orioles faced the Twins at Target Field . Birk also took part in a pregame Pepsi home run contest. Birk came in second, hitting two softballs over the wall (from a center field plate). The Twins mascot, T.C., won. Birk, 36, retired from football after helping the Ravens to the Super Bowl title this year. His former teammate Haloti Ngata threw out the first pitch at a game at Camden Yards earlier this week .
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By Michael Gold and The Baltimore Sun | October 2, 2012
Predictably enough, Ravens center Matt Birk's opposition to same-sex marriage has caught the attention of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. In response to an op-ed Birk penned in support of, as he wrote, “preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman,” the outspoken Kluwe published a six-point takedown of what he calls Birk's “logical fallacy.” The crux of Kluwe's response - which is far less profane than his...
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By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2013
For four years, six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk snapped the football to Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco. Since Birk retired in February, the veteran lineman has passed another valuable commodity onto Flacco with the sale of his Baltimore County home to the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback for $1.385 million, according to records. Flacco purchased the home from Birk earlier this year after the quarterback signed a $120.6 million contract that included a $29 million signing bonus and a total of $51 million in guaranteed money.
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By Matt Vensel | August 2, 2013
One of the main reasons that Matt Birk was so valuable to the Ravens as his age slowly ticked toward 40 is that he had a high football IQ that served as a big benefit to a young, developing quarterback in Joe Flacco. Yes, Birk went to Harvard, as we were reminded constantly by TV play-by-play guys who couldn't come up with anything more insightful to share. But the Ravens say intelligence is an attribute both Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley, the two contenders to replace Birk , share even though they didn't go to Ivy League schools.
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