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“2018 Class In Session” - Pt. 4

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03/02/2017

The Pro Football Hall of Fame continues their series on the eligible Class of 2018 with a look at Matt Birk, who anchored his teams for many years at the center position.

The Harvard graduate was drafted in the sixth round (173rd overall) of the 1998 draft by his hometown Minnesota Vikings.

After serving two seasons as a backup, Birk stepped in as the starting center and was selected to his first of six Pro Bowls. Birk anchored his teams to 9 playoff appearances, earned a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and capped of his 15-season career with a win in Super Bowl XLVII.

“I miss walking off the field after a Wednesday practice where we just beat the heck out of each other trying to prepare for our next opponent…that’s where the hard work takes place and that’s where I probably felt a bigger sense of accomplishment was after a long practice as opposed to a game because the games were fun,” said Birk.

Birk spent 10 seasons with the Vikings before heading east to Baltimore to where he played four seasons with the Ravens.

In all, the former Vikings and Ravens center played in 210 games and started in 187 of those.

“l love the process, I love the preparation. As a professional player, 50 weeks a year you’re focusing on those 16 games in the fall. You wake up everyday saying what can I do today to become a better football player  because by becoming a better football player that’s how I help my team. It’s amazing to be a part of something like that," explained Birk.

While Birk retired from playing football, he is still heavily involved with the game. He was named the NFL Director of Football development, wrote a book titled “All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices That Lead to Greatness” and established the HIKE foundation. His foundation provide at-risk children with the educational opportunities needed to excel in the classroom and in life.

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