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Birk Signs New Deal with Ravens

Birk is back,

Matt Birk will be back in Baltimore for at least another season.

The Ravens starting center had contemplated retirement this offseason, but made the decision to return and worked out a new three-year contract with the Ravens, pending the passing of a physical.

Birk, 35, has spent the last three seasons as the Ravens starting center.

Retaining Birk means that the Ravens will keep four of their five starting linemen from last season.

Bringing back Birk allows the Ravens to maintain the core of their line, which was one of the NFL’s best last season.

The six-time Pro Bowler was a key part of an offensive line that cleared the way for one of the league’s top rushing attacks, as Ray Rice ran for a career-high 1,364 yards last season.

Even with Birk’s decision to return, the Ravens could still draft a center or look to sign another in free agency. General Manager Ozzie Newsome said last month, “Before we line up and play in 2012, there will be another center on this football team in some capacity – free agency, draft or whatever.”

The team’s backup center last year was veteran Andre Gurode, who is an unrestricted free agent. It is unclear if the Ravens will try to re-sign him.

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