Originally posted on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 2/22/13
It was long expected...but it's always a shock when it happens. Friday it happened. Matt Birk is done after 15 years. Ravens backup center Gino Gradkowski is next man up.         Just the day before, Birk decided that after 15 years in the league that he was going to retire. But it still wasn’t easy for the 36-year-old veteran to walk away. As Ryan Mink of the Ravens NFL.com site wrote, it has been a difficult decision for Birk to walk away from the game he loves. But with the script to the perfect ending before him, Birk bowed out. He won his first Super Bowl this year. He had one of his finest seasons, according to his head coach. The 2011 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year enjoyed a long, decorated career both in Minnesota (11 years) and Baltimore (four years). He went to six Pro Bowls and was played in 210 regular-season games, including 124 straight starts (including postseason) to end his career. “I'm old. I have six kids. It's just time,
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