Birk in running for NFL Man of the Year

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
12:30
PM ET
Ravens center Matt Birk is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well as contributions to the team.

The other finalists are Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. The winner will be announced the day before the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Birk's "Ready, Set, Read!" program reaches close to 100,000 children in the Baltimore area and motivates students to read at home through an incentive-based system. He has also agreed to donate his brain and spinal cord tissue to the Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine to help assist in researching the effects of repeated head traumas.

Birk, a 14-year veteran who struggled in the AFC championship game against Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork, said he hasn't made a decision on whether he will retire.

"I'm just going to let this one soak in, and when it's time to make a decision, I'll make a decision," he said.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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