Birk takes on multi-tasked role with NFL

Former Vikings center Matt Birk was hired as a director of football development for the NFL, but his role will be wide-ranging.

Former Vikings Pro Bowler Matt Birk retired from the NFL after winning the Super Bowl with the Ravens following the 2012 season but didn’t stay retired for long.

While his playing days are over, Birk is still in the NFL. The league announced Thursday that Birk has been hired as director of football development.

Birk served an intermediary between the league and the players last year, working as an NFL-NFLPA appeals officer who would hear appeals to NFL-imposed suspensions of players. His new role with the league will be pretty wide-ranging. He will work in developing the game at all levels, including players, coaches and front office personnel.

He not only will assist in game-day operations around the league, he will also play a significant role in the administration of the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, regional combines throughout the country and the college all-star games that include the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game.

“I’m very excited to begin this next chapter of my football career,” Birk said in a statement released by the league. “It’s a real honor for me to be entrusted with developing the game in so many different ways.”

Birk becomes the eighth former player to take a job with the NFL office for development of the game, a group that includes Merton Hanks, Dwight Hollier, Patrick Kerney, James Thrash, David Tyree, Troy Vincent and Charles Way.

Birk’s job description will also include a lead role in the league’s Career Development Symposium, which advises players how to invest and save their earnings from the NFL, the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program, and the NFL-NCAA Future Football Coaches Academy. In addition, he will serve as a liaison for the NFL’s football operations on developing the NFL game internationally, as well as strengthening the NFL High School Player Development program.

As ambitious as Birk’s job description will be, Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said the league is pleased to have a man of Birk’s character joining up with them to promote and strengthen the long-term success of the game.

“Matt’s experience as a terrific NFL player, a model citizen in his community and as a forward-thinking leader make him ideally suited for this role,” Vincent said. “There is no doubt he will continue to make a positive impact on our game and be a trusted advocate for those who play and coach at every level.”


  • The 20th annual Ride for Life Motorcycle Rally will take place Saturday, commencing at the Blue Heron Grill in Hugo and will conclude at Grand Casino Hinckley. Among the current and former players expected to participate are Kyle Rudolph, Jasper Brinkley, Marcus Sherels, Andrew Sendejo, Matt Blair, Bob Lurtsema, Stu Voigt and Ted Brown. Fans looking for autographs will have the opportunity in Hugo from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. The event will get underway at 9 a.m. in Hugo and 11:30 a.m. in Hinckley. The cost to take part is a $10 donation to the Vikings Children’s Fund. More than $20,000 in prizes, including a $5,000 cash prize, will be awarded. For more information, go the Vikings official website. Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy told Thursday that the Packers won’t retire Brett Favre’s number this year. From the sounds of what Murphy said, the animosity Packers fans still hold toward Favre are wounds that haven’t healed. One of the reasons cited by Murphy as to why Green Bay isn’t considering retiring Favre’s jersey yet is that he is concerned Favre would be booed during the ceremony.

  • On Saturday, four former Vikings will appear as part of Monticello’s mid-summer Riverfest celebration. Mick Tingelhoff, Fred Cox, Dave Osborn and Stu Voigt will appear at Hi-Way Liquors in Monticello from 1 to 2 p.m. to sign autographs and meet with fans as part of a “Legends in Purple” promotion that is expected to be an ongoing promotion with the festival.

  • The NFL conducted its 2014 supplemental draft Thursday and none of the league’s 32 teams put in a bid on the four available players. The draft itself lasted just six minutes.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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