With center Matt Birk set to conclude his free-agent visit with the Ravens today, here is some information on his career in Minnesota and his charitable work.
A St. Paul, Minnesota native, Birk grew up as a fan of the Vikings. In the 1998 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected Birk out of Harvard in the sixth round (173rd overall selection).
To this point, he has played his entire 11-year career with the Vikings. He was a backup offensive lineman until he got a shot at the center position. He started every game for the Vikings at center from 2000-03. He missed the final four games of the 2004 season due to a sports hernia, and then he missed the entire 2005 season recovering from hip surgery. He has held down the starting center position again after returning to that spot in 2006.
Birk has been selected to six Pro Bowls (2000-01, 2003-04 and 2006-07). He has also been voted All-Pro twice (2000, 2003).
Birk is very active in the community, including running his HIKE Foundation, which provides at-risk Twin Cities children with educational opportunities. He also has been very active with the Gridiron Greats foundation, even donating part of his salary to help take care of retired players in need.
He was a finalist for the 2009 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service.
Here is a United Way video of Birk trying to talk to a kid about lightning.
Not only does Birk play for the hometown team, and help in the community, he also co- owns two restaurants in the area, Matty B’s Supper Club and Matty B’s Urban Bar and Restaurant.
Media reports in Minneapolis say Birk will make a decision on his future by Thursday.