As the Ravens sweated through another 90-degree training camp practice on Tuesday, center Matt Birk stood in the sideline as a spectator for the second straight day.
There was no injury, coach John Harbaugh noted. He was just giving the veteran center an extra day off.
Matt is at the stage of his career where, probably, he is going to practice less than he is not going to practice, Harbaugh said. I think that would be the best thing for Matt, getting him ready to go.
Thinking long-term, this is probably a shrewd move. The Ravens surely would rather have Birk ready to go in October than in August.
Birk, who turned 36 last week, missed the Ravens minicamp after having surgery for varicose veins, a procedure designed to help his leg strength over the long season.
Birk is approaching his 15th NFL season, and his fourth with the Ravens. He hasnt missed a start in six seasons, and all indications are when the season begins, hell be in there again.
It will be important, though, for Birk to get in a rhythm with an offensive line that seemingly changes by the day. As of now, with Bryant McKinnie still not on the field, Michael Oher is lining up at left tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele getting most of the snaps at right tackle. If McKinnie returns, Oher will likely move back to the right side, and Osemele could be a factor at guard. Rookie free agent Jack Cornell is also getting a lot of reps at tackle as well as guard.
With Birk on the sideline, the Ravens can plug in veteran Tony Wragge or rookie Gino Gradkowski at center. But when the games begin, you can bet Birk, a little more rested than usual, will be there and ready to go.