Ravens' Birk retires after 15 seasons

BALTIMORE — Matt Birk's final game was a Super Bowl victory.

The veteran center of the Baltimore Ravens retired Friday after 15 pro seasons.

"To cap it with a Super Bowl win, that's a great thing," the 36-year-old Birk said. "But, regardless of that, had that not happened, it would have still been a fantastic experience and one that I would have been very thankful and grateful for."

Birk, the NFL's Man of the Year in 2011 for his community service, announced his retirement at Battle Grove Elementary School. Birk established the "Ready, Set, Read!" program, an initiative developed by his H.I.K.E. Foundation (Hope, Inspiration, Knowledge and Education) that motivates students to read at home.

A sixth-round draft selection out of Harvard in 1998, Birk played 11 seasons in Minnesota before going to Baltimore. He went to six Pro Bowls and played 210 regular-season games with 124 consecutive starts.


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