If Ravens players receive fines or suspensions in the upcoming season, they'll be appealing to a former teammate.
Retired Ravens center Matt Birk will replace Art Shell as one of two appeals officers approved by the NFL and the players' union, as first reported by the Associated Press. Birk joins former NFL player and coach Ted Cottrell on the job.
The players' union executive committee requested that Birk succeed Shell. The league agreed to the move.
It's a powerful position for Birk. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the officers review discipline handed out for on-field conduct. Player suspensions must be appealed in three days, and the officers' decisions are binding.
Ravens safety Ed Reed was given a one-game suspension last year for illegal hits, but appealed and won. He paid a fine instead of missing any games.
When he retired, Birk said he didn't know what he wanted to do in his next chapter of life. His first step will be remaining within the NFL, and it could be a stepping stone to more prestigious positions.