It looks like Matt Birk has reached the end of the road. On Friday the former Viking center is expected to announce his retirement from the NFL, according to a report. Birk will go out a champion, having climbed to the top of the mountain as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Birk played 15 years in the NFL, going to the Pro Bowl six times and being named All-Pro twice. He also snagged an Ed Block Courage Award in 2006 and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2011.
Who knows what plans Birk has for his future but given how smart and well-spoken he is, it wouldn’t shock me to see him go into TV or radio. Or maybe politics is in Birk’s future? He certainly isn’t shy about giving his opinions. Maybe Chris Kluwe could run against him for the Senate. That would make for some interesting debating.
And what about Birk’s Hall of Fame prospects? I really don’t see him getting in ultimately, but he should at least get a serious look. For offensive linemen, you look at Pro Bowls and All-Pros. You look at the running backs those guys blocked for. You look at their contributions to winning teams. Birk has the Pro Bowls, he blocked for his share of thousand-yard runners and he was on winning teams. And he exhibited plenty of leadership in his career and during his prime was always among the top two or three centers in the league.
That might not be a Hall of Fame resume ultimately but it’s a solid resume. He was certainly one of the very top centers of the 2000s, if not the overall best of the decade. Good career Birk. And good luck in whatever you choose to do with the rest of your life.