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Ravens sign center Casey Rabach

The Ravens have signed former center Casey Rabach because of Matt Birk's knee issues. He received a two-year deal, and provides depth at a position weakened by the departure of Chris Chester to the Redskins.

According to ESPN, Birk might need arthroscopic knee surgery.

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Rabach, 33, was a third-round pick by the Ravens in 2001 (the same draft that included Todd Heap) and became a full-time starter in 2004 when Mike Flynn was injured. That offseason, the Ravens decided to stick with Flynn as their center and let Rabach go to the Washington Redskins in free agency.

Rabach started the past six seasons for the Redskins and signed a three-year, $12.3 million contract extension with Washington (which included a $4.3 million signing bonus) in March 2010. But Washington decided to go younger at center and released him before training camp started.

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He is coming off offseason shoulder surgery but he told The Washington Post that it has healed.

Birk, 35, has been the Ravens' starting center for the past two seasons. He was sidelined for practice Monday and stood with his left knee wrapped.

This isn't the first time he's had knee issues. In order for Birk to play 18 games this past season, his swollen knee had to be drained at least once a week.

Birk had contemplated retirement in the offseason but decided to return.

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