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News » Birk and Ravens 'a perfect fit'

Birk and Ravens 'a perfect fit'

Birk and Ravens 'a perfect fit'
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The Ravens impressed Matt Birk enough on his free agent visit that the six-time Pro Bowl center uprooted himself from his hometown Minnesota Vikings and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with Baltimore.

Birk was introduced at a news conference Thursday, one day after agreeing to a deal that includes $6 million guaranteed with a total of $9 million paid out the first two years.

"Professionally, I just think this is a perfect fit," said Birk, whose wife, Adrianna, and their four young children sat in the front row. "From the second I got here, I could just sense that there's something special here. Personally, for my family and me, we're Minnesota born and bred. We'll always be from Minnesota, but this is exciting and a great opportunity. It's going to be a great adventure for our family, and we're happy to be a part of the Ravens' family."

A native of St. Paul, Minn., who attended Harvard, Birk was so taken by the Ravens that he paid his own way for his visit.

Birk replaces Jason Brown, who signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the St. Louis Rams that includes $20 million guaranteed.

"It would be hard for me to describe how excited we were in the building when Matt made the decision to become a Raven," head coach John Harbaugh said. "We are a better football team today than we were yesterday, by far."

Birk had a competing offer to return to Minnesota, but was adamant that he wouldn't use the Ravens to drive up the Vikings' bid.

A major selling point for Birk was the fact that the Ravens came within one game of reaching the Super Bowl during Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco's first season. Baltimore lost to eventual champion Pittsburgh in the AFC title game.

"That's huge at this point in my career," Birk said. "It really wasn't a tough decision. It's hard to find a negative, really. I hate to use the word 'perfect,' but it feels perfect to me."

Since free agency began last week, the Ravens have signed All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis to a three-year, $22 million deal, and former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Domonique Foxworth to a four-year, $27.2 million contract.

The Ravens also have lost Brown, and linebacker Bart Scott and strong safety Jim Leonhard to the New York Jets.

"We're not done yet," Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We're still working the phones. The phones are still hot. We're still trying to improve our football team."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 5, 2009

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Jason Brown Name: Jason Brown
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