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Ravens still expect Birk to be ready for season opener

The Ravens projected Matt Birk to be ready for the season opener against Pittsburgh, and owner Steve Bisciotti confirmed Tuesday that the starting center remains on track to come back for their AFC North rival.

Birk was expected to miss three to four weeks after having his left knee scoped on Aug. 2. Under that timetable, he could return for the final preseason game.

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"Every indication is that he's going to play," Bisciotti said in Tuesday's fan forum. "We're counting on him. The original prognosis was three or four weeks, which would put us right up against the season opener. I haven't heard anything different."

With Birk sidelined, the Ravens have gone with Bryan Mattison, the son of former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl center, is the most experienced offensive lineman for the Ravens.

"We are hoping to have him, and we were planning on limiting his snaps like we do with a lot of the veterans anyway," Bisciotti said. "After his exceptional career, I don't know that a lack of snaps is going to be important at a position like that. Say your prayers, I think he's going to be starting against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11."

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