Matt Birk fined $5K for removing mike

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for removing a microphone from his shoulder pads during a game against the New York Jets.

The NFL requires centers or offensive guards to wear microphones.

Birk says he tore his microphone off after it came loose and was jabbing his neck. He said because he couldn't reach it, "I just took it off."

He says he will appeal the fine, in part because he didn't know he couldn't remove the microphone. He called it a "misunderstanding."

Asked if wearing a microphone could provide a competitive advantage for other teams, Birk said, "It's tough to say." But he said a lot of the calls sound the same.

Birk says this is the first time he's been fined for removing the microphone.