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Matt Birk ends 15-year NFL career with Super Bowl victory

February 22, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Baltimore center Matt Birk, left, celebrates a touchdown with Dennis Pitta during Super Bowl XLVII, the final game of Birk's 15-year NFL career.
Baltimore center Matt Birk, left, celebrates a touchdown with Dennis Pitta… (Al Bello / Getty Images )

Matt Birk is going out on top.

The six-time Pro Bowl center announced his retirement Friday after 15 years in the NFL, the last four of which were spent with the Baltimore Ravens.

Which means that his last time on the football field as a pro player was earlier this month, when he and the rest of the Ravens nation were celebrating a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

"I guess I’ll always come back to just after that game, on the field, with teammates and with my family," Birk said. "That moment, it was like a half an hour or whatever. But that long moment, I’m going to have forever. That’s a great thing."

Birk spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Minnesota, where he earned all of his Pro Bowl nods. Still, during his stint with the Ravens, he anchored an offensive line that helped Ray Rice rush for 5,066 and 33 touchdowns.

During this season's playoff run, Birk and company gave up just six sacks in four games. In the AFC championship game, Birk held New England's Vince Wilfork, who crushed the Ravens in the same game a year earlier, to one assisted tackle and one quarterback hit.

"You can’t ask for anything more," Birk said. "It is a great way to end it. No one is entitled to a Super Bowl, certainly not me. But I’m so grateful and fortunate to be part of the team. It is a special team and the run that made, the championship we won is something I’ll never forget. "


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