Flacco Stays Cool on Center Questions

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Joe Flacco doesn't know who will be snapping him the football next year, but even that can't rattle the cool-headed quarterback.

He knows it's not going to be Jason Brown, who recently signed a lucrative five-year contract with the St. Louis Rams.

Beyond that, he'll leave the fretting to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to find another center.

"I haven't thought about it that much. I'm sure they're going to get the right guy," Flacco said during a stop at the Ravens' headquarters in Owings Mills, Md. "I loved having Jason last year, but you can't fault him for moving on and getting paid when he can. I wish him the best, and now we have to see who gets that job this offseason."

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There are a few options to replace Brown currently on the roster.

Chris Chester was Baltimore's primary backup at the position last season, while guard/tackle Marshal Yanda took snaps there in training camp before he tore three ligaments in his knee in Week 6 and missed the rest of the season.

Additionally, various media outlets reported that the Ravens hosted former Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk Tuesday at their facility to meet with team officials.

Still, Birk is a six-time Pro Bowler who has spent his entire 11-year career in Minnesota, and the Vikings have expressed their desire to re-sign him.

Even though Birk and Flacco actually share the same agent, Joe Linta, the quarterback has remained far away from any free-agent thoughts.

Since he threw his last pass in the AFC Championship, Flacco has rested, largely removing himself from football.

Sure, he watched the Super Bowl and even traveled briefly to Tampa, Fla., to accept his award as the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year, but Flacco has enjoyed his quiet time after a continuous rookie season that basically began with the first practice of his senior year Delaware.

From there, he played in an extended season after leading the Blue Hens to the Division I-AA title game, then immediately began preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine before helming the Ravens for 19 games.

"I've been relaxing, really," Flacco said with a laugh. "I don't go on vacation, not the way most NFL players do, I can tell you that. I haven't gone on any exotic trips or anything."

Flacco plans on returning midway through March to begin lightly throwing and start conditioning for the offseason.

"Even when I come back, I don't know if I'll throw that first day," he explained. "You have to take some time off and get the arm away from everything. I'm honestly bored out of my mind, but at this point that's a good thing."

When Flacco does get back to work in earnest, the center-quarterback relationship is going to be one of his primary focuses.

But Flacco is confident the process will be smooth, whoever mans the point of Baltimore's offensive line.

He did it last year, stepping into the starting role late in the preseason after he spent the majority of his offseason with the second- and third-stringers. By the end of his rookie campaign, Flacco had only been sacked 33 times, the second-fewest total in franchise history.

"We'll have a lot of time to get used to the snap and the line calls," Flacco said of the Ravens' next center. "That's what the offseason is for, to get ready for the real thing."

Notable

The Ravens re-signed wideout Marcus Maxwell and defensive back Evan Oglesby, two of their restricted free agents. … Flacco, who was drafted by the Ravens 18th overall, could sympathize with the incredible amount of scrutiny the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft class will go through. Both Georgia's Matthew Stafford and USC's Mark Sanchez are expected to be high first-round picks. "From the Combine to the draft was absolutely crazy for me - even more than I ever thought," Flacco said. "After the Combine, you've got one-on-one interviews, have to get ready for your pro day and have to travel to meet with the teams. Looking back, it wasn't that bad, but when you're going through it, you don't know what to expect." … The Ravens will pick 26th in the first round, 25th in the second, 24th in the third, 23rd in the fourth, 26th in the fifth and 25th in the sixth. Baltimore traded their seventh rounder to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season for defensive tackle Marques Douglas. The NFL will release additional compensatory picks in the time before the draft on April 25-26.

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