Matt Birk was done a year ago, ready to retire.
Or so it seemed. Former NFL general manager Charley Casserly told a vast television audience before Baltimore's first playoff game that Birk would step into retirement after the Ravens completed their postseason run.
''That report didn't come from me,'' Birk said recently with a smirk.
Obviously not. The veteran center decided last offseason to return for at least one more year, and now he's poised to play in his first Super Bowl on Sunday.
And then, after his caps his 15th NFL season by banging helmets against the defensive line of the San Francisco 49ers, Birk will determine once again whether to take his scarred and weary body into retirement.
''I mean, I always say that I'm playing until I'm not,'' the 36-year-old Harvard grad said in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. ''Every year is just exhausting, and after the way our season ended last year (a loss in the AFC title game), it takes a while to process those emotions.