Matt Birk and Brendon Ayanbadejo aren't just on opposite sides of the line for the Ravens, they're polar opposites when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage.
Over the weekend, Birk appeared in an online video for the Minnesota Catholic Conference in support of a state marriage amendment between a man and a woman. He also wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Star-Tribune on Sunday.
Recently, Ayanbadejo, a linebacker, voiced his support of same-sex marriage.
"I took a stance like other guys have done before me. In doing so, it's not my aim, it's not my goal to engage in any debates with any one person or persons. Obviously, we all have opinions," said Birk, a Catholic and St. Paul native who spent his first 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, on Monday. "It just so happens we disagree on what marriage is in the public forum. Certainly, a very inflammatory, very hot topic because it's important. I understand that.
"Out of respect to my teammates and my team, the organization, this isn't going to turn into a circus. It probably won't be the last time that I publicly make a stance on it."
Wrote Birk in the Star-Tribune: "I think it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing."
Birk said he approached Ayanbadejo about what he was doing before the weekend. While they disagree, Birk insists on being level-headed and not disrespectful.
"I've known Brendon for a while. I played with his brother (Devin). I like Brendon," Birk said. "I respect him a lot. I told him on Friday that I was going to have a piece coming out ... so he didn't get blindsided by it."
Coach John Harbaugh isn't bothered by the debate.
"Don't discourage it or encourage it," he said when asked to weigh in Monday. "As long as everybody respects everybody else's opinion, that's the main thing. We talk about politics, religion movies, music. It's OK to have an opinion."