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Matt Birk is coming back to town. No, not to play center, which might be viewed as unfortunate, given the struggles Gino Gradkowski had in his first year at center.
Birk, the former Ravens center and 15-year NFL veteran, has left behind his playing days -- and his playing weight -- and is now a published author. He will be at Greetings & Readings in Hunt Valley on Thursday night to sign his book: "All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices That Lead to Greatness."
"Greatness is not winning the Super Bowl or being on TV," Birk told a Minnesota TV station. "Those things are achievements. Greatness is being who you're supposed to be, being the best version of yourself."
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In addition to writing the book, Birk works as an appeals officer with the NFL, listening to appeals from players who have been fined or suspended. Retirement also lets the father of six spend more time with his family.
Books, and reading, have always been major forces in Birk's life. The Harvard graduate was named the 2011 NFL Man of the Year for his community service, and one of his major initiatives involved a reading program for children. He announced his retirement last year at Battle Grove Elementary School in Dundalk, where he donated a "Reading Oasis" reading lab to the school.
Since retiring from football last year, Birk has moved back to Minnesota, and his signing on Thursday is expected to be his only local book signing. But he told the Baltimore Sun that, "I have a ton of fond memories in Baltimore that have nothing to do with winning the Super Bowl, but it was pretty cool that we did. My last memory of Baltimore is winning the Super Bowl and what that meant to the city."