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Center Matt Birk was already back in the Ravens’ training facility lightly working out Tuesday morning.
As if that’s not a sign that he’ll be returning next season, the veteran took it one step further.
Birk, 34, was asked if he was still debating retiring.
“I think I’ll be good to go,” he said of playing another year.
Birk, who has one year left on his contract after 13 NFL seasons, started all 18 games this season despite having fluid in his knee drained at least once a week. He hasn’t missed a start since 2005.
His health was a consideration in whether he would retire, but that’s already improving.
Birk, who was in the team’s gym Tuesday morning, doesn’t have any surgeries scheduled and expects to make a full recovery.
“It’s feeling better,” Birk said. “It’s just something that takes time.”
Birk returned to Baltimore with his family a few days ago and soon felt the desire to get back in the gym. He joked that his wife, Adrianna, told him he had to take their five kids (three daughters and two sons) with him.
Birk returning to anchor the offensive line would be key for Baltimore, considering the team has some uncertainty entering this offseason.
Andy Moeller was promoted to Offensive Line Coach and Todd Washington has been hired as an assistant.
Tackle Jared Gaither is coming off a season full of health problems and may be a free agent under a new collective bargaining agreement. Birk’s backup, Chris Chester, and guard/tackle Marshal Yanda could also hit the market. The Ravens currently own the rights to all three under the 2010 CBA rules.
Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta spoke last week about the value of maintaining consistency on the offensive line.
“The line being in sync is really, really important,” DeCosta said. “We had guys playing at different positions [last year] and that kind of hurt us. So I think another year of those guys playing in the same spots, or at least some of the same spots, will really help us.”