In his 15th NFL season, the 36-year-old Harvard graduate will contemplate his future during the offseason.

"I don't think like that," Birk said when asked if he has thought about retirement. "I'm just trying to live in the moment. That's just kind of my mindset. I don't think about the future, whether this could be it. It drives my wife nuts, but that's not how I operate. I don't know what it will be like when I walk away, but I'm very fortunate.

"You realize how lucky you are. You realize it won't last forever. Guys my age tell me, the real world isn't all it's cracked up to be. You realize this is a unique way to make a living, a unique atmosphere, unique work. You got to enjoy it because you work too hard not to enjoy some of the moments."

Birk started every game and drew praise for limiting New England Patriots Pro Bowl defensive lineman Vince Wilfork to one tackle in the AFC championship after struggling against him a year ago.

"I'm not sure about Matt's plans, and if he decides to come back next year, that'd be awesome," Harbaugh said. "Matt Birk has been a huge part of this program for the last four years. He's smart, he's tough. To my eye, he is playing the best football that he's played since he's been here right now at this point.

"To have that be true at the end of a 24-game season [including the preseason] is very impressive. So, he's just done a great job for us, and we would not be where we're at without Matt Birk."

Ellerbe misses third practice

Ravens starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was held out of practice for the third consecutive day due to a sprained right ankle and minor back injury.

Ellerbe was at practice, but he wasn't dressed.

Ellerbe has previously said he could definitely play in the Super Bowl, even if the game was this Sunday instead of a week from now.

Meanwhile, tight end Dennis Pitta (thigh) returned to practice after not practicing on Friday.

Wide receiver David Reed (hamstring) didn't practice.

Suggs improving

After battling through the regular season with his recovery from a torn right Achilles tendon and also dealing with a torn right biceps, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has had a resurgent postseason.

Suggs has 19 tackles and two sacks in three playoff games after recording 22 tackles and two sacks in eight regular-season games.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year appears to be getting healthier and more mobile in recent weeks.

"We haven't monitored or charted his explosive quotient so far, but he is getting better," Harbaugh said. "I think he's becoming quicker, faster, more explosive, stronger, all of those things. You can tell that it is healing, and he is just playing more like a normal, 100-percent Terrell Suggs would play. So, what you are seeing is exactly right."

Josh Charles 'inspired' by Ravens

Josh Charles didn't want to wait until arriving in New Orleans for the Super Bowl to spend some time hanging out with the Ravens.

So, the Emmy Award-nominated actor from the television drama series "The Good Wife" has been a fixture at the Ravens' training complex over the past few days, attending practices and chatting with players like quarterback Joe Flacco in the locker room.

"It's an inspiring group of guys," he said. "I'm hoping they can finish it. It will put the perfect exclamation point on what's been an incredible ride that's made the state and the city really proud. I'm thrilled for them. They're good dudes."