According to a story on NFL.com, Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk will be retiring today. After 15 seasons between the Minnesota Vikings and Ravens, Birk's body has sustained years of abuse and damage, and he has already promised his brain to be donated to science to further study the effects of trauma for the benefit of future players.
Birk, a Harvard graduate, has always been a class guy, well-spoken and honored by the NFL, being named the "Walter Payton Man of the Year" before last year's Super Bowl. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and while his 2011 season was one to make Ravens fans wonder if he should have retired then, he arguably has an excellent rebound season in 2012 and finally gets that elusive ring to ride out into the sunset with pride.
The veteran presence anchoring the Ravens offensive line had to be a boost to the others on both sides of him, not to mention the guy he was snapping the ball to, QB Joe Flacco.
I was lucky to meet and interview him for a story in the team's locker room at their Training Complex and he is not only smart and well-spoken, but has a dry, yet funny sense of humor as well. Thanks for the memories, Matt.