Few players get to go out of the NFL on their own terms. More times than not, players are told when to quit – much less going out as a champion.
Former Viking Matt Birk is going to join that elite list of players who have gone out on top today when he announces his retirement after 15 seasons, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Birk was a sixth-round draft pick out of Harvard in 1998, the same draft class that brought Randy Moss to the Vikings. He played 11 seasons with the Vikings, but, after a falling out with then-head coach Brad Childress, Birk landed with the Ravens, where he played the last four seasons.
A six-time Pro Bowl center for the Vikings, Birk was honored as the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2011 for his tireless charitable work off the field. His resume is the type that will surely get him debated as a potential Hall of Fame candidate.
Following the Ravens' victory in Super Bowl XLVII, Birk said he thought he might come back for a 16th season, but after a couple of weeks of reflection made the decision the retire.
The announcement is expected to be made this morning. Birk is scheduled to attend a ceremony at Battle Grove Elementary School in Baltimore to dedicate a community reading center and the team hinted that the retirement announcement will be part of that ceremony.
Birk, 35, still has two years remaining on a three-year contract he signed last year. Birk has become one of the most active members of the Ravens football family, continuing a tradition of giving that he started with the Vikings. He is as valued a player off the field as he was on and his legacy will be one of being an elite player as well as one of the top players in the community as well.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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