Birk Had Surgery, Rabach Fails Physical

The Ravens have a need at the center position.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Mike Duffy

The Ravens will address their center situation soon to provide insurance for incumbent Matt Birk, who recently had a surgical procedure to clean the bursa sac in his left knee.

Unfortunately, that insurance policy won’t come in the form of former Raven and Washington Redskin Casey Rabach.

Rabach, who agreed to terms with the Ravens on Tuesday for a two-year deal, failed his physical and will not join the club. The 11-year veteran reportedly was not fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery.

“We will be looking for another center,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“We tried to sign Casey Rabach. He failed his physical, so we’ll just keep looking. We’ll be looking for a center to get through camp and then provide some depth throughout the course of the season.”

John Harbaugh Discusses Matt Birk’s Injury
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Birk is only expected to miss three to four weeks, which means the Ravens will not have to dish out big dollars on a potential starter.

Behind Birk, the Ravens have practice squadder Bryan Mattison and undrafted rookies Ryan Bartholomew and Tim Barnes.

“Matt will be our starting center,” Harbaugh said of the 13-year vet. “But Matt’s older; I don’t think he necessarily needs training camp. That’s my feeling – let him get this cleaned up right now, and we’ll get a week or two of training camp with him and he’ll be ready to play.”

Birk bravely fought through knee issues during much of the 2010 campaign.

Harbaugh noted that Birk would likely have had the surgery during the offseason, but the NFL lockout forced him to wait until the labor situation was resolved.

“I think if we’d have had him here the whole offseason, and he’d been here, this would have been done in February, March, April, something like that,” Harbaugh said. “That’s probably one of the negatives of having this whole situation.

“It’s a minor procedure from what I’m told. Otherwise, it would have been bothering him all year, it would’ve swollen up and stuff like that, so we decided to go ahead and get that cleaned up right now.”

Of the available unrestricted free agent centers on the market, Chicago’s Olin Kreutz, San Francisco’s Eric Heitmann and Kansas City’s Rudy Niswanger head the list.

Note: Harbaugh confirmed that rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith had a “minor groin tweak” and wideout James Hardy was suffering from a hamstring injury.  Neither injury is deemed serious.

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