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    NFL notebook: Ravens’ Matt Birk retires a champ

    Matt Birk’s final game was a Super Bowl victory.

    The veteran center for the Baltimore Ravens retired Friday after 15 pro seasons.

    ‘‘To cap it with a Super Bowl win, that’s a great thing,’’ the 36-year-old Birk said. ‘‘But, regardless of that, had that not happened, it would have still been a fantastic experience and one that I would have been very thankful and grateful for.’’


    Birk, the NFL’s Man of the Year in 2011 for his community service, announced his retirement at Battle Grove Elementary School in Baltimore. A father of six, Birk established the ‘‘Ready, Set, Read!’’ program that motivates students to read at home.

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    ‘‘My name is Matt. I play for the Ravens. Did you hear that the Ravens won the Super Bowl? It was good stuff, right?’’ he jokingly told the students.

    A sixth-round draft selection out of Harvard in 1998, Birk played 11 seasons in Minnesota before going to Baltimore. He went to six Pro Bowls and played 210 regular-season games with 124 consecutive starts, including the playoffs.

    Birk is from St. Paul, so playing for the Vikings was special for him.

    ‘‘Just to play in the NFL is obviously a dream come true. To do it for your hometown team is even better,’’ Birk said. ‘‘What makes it better is you get to share the experience intimately with your family and friends, and with those people who helped you immensely along the way to get to that level.


    ‘‘I’ll never forget after Vikings games, being out in the parking lot, my parents and our neighbors had the greatest tailgate party every single Sunday. We would have hundreds of people come. It was like everybody was welcome.’’

    Flacco, Ravens to talk

    The Ravens were scheduled to meet Friday with the agent for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, according to ESPN.

    It was to be the first negotiations since August, when the team and Flacco couldn’t agree on an extension or a new deal.

    Flacco made less than $7 million in 2012, and even if the Ravens franchise him, he would at least double that salary for next season.

    The going rate for a non-exclusive franchise quarterback is $14.6 million for one season. Other teams could make an offer to Flacco under that tag, with the Ravens having the right to match it — or let him go and receive two first-round draft picks in return.


    Should the Ravens put the exclusive franchise tag on Flacco, they would owe him $20.46 million for 2013 in a one-year deal.

    Titans pick off Wilson

    The Titans took their first step toward improving their defense, agreeing to terms with safety George Wilson on a multiyear contract. Wilson, who was undrafted out of Arkansas as a wide receiver, broke in with the Bills in 2005.

    Titans officials visited with Wilson after Buffalo released him Feb. 11. They were allowed to sign him before total free agency begins on March 12 because he was cut by his previous team.

    Wilson spent much of the past nine years with the Bills, playing 92 games with 12 interceptions, 362 tackles, and 22 passes defensed. He wound up being voted team captain each of the last five seasons, and Wilson started 55 games at safety.

    Falcons to cut Turner

    The Falcons are likely to release running back Michael Turner, who is scheduled to make $6.9 million next season, according to ESPN. Turner, 31, rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns last season as the Falcons reached the NFC Championship game. It marked the fifth straight season in which he reached double figures in TDs . . . Orthopedic surgeon James Andrews said Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is ‘‘way ahead of schedule’’ in his recovery from the reconstruction of his right knee in January.