The Brian Banks story is a tragic one but could potentially have a happy ending. The former high school football star had committed to USC, but that was before a girl wrongly accused him of rape. Siting the fact that he is a large black man, Banks’ attorney advised him to take a plea deal rather than face 40 years in prison. Banks spent five years in prison, and another five on parole. He had to register as a sex offender and wear an ankle bracelet for those five years.
10 years of his life was taken away, and the girl who accused him ended up admitting she was lying. She contacted Banks on Facebook in an effort to bury the hatchet (what person could forgive someone for taking away 10 years of their life?). Banks set up a sting with a private investigator, who caught Banks’ accuser admitting he never raped her. A judge finally through out the case, making Banks a free man.
Now, Banks is getting a chance to make an NFL roster and fulfill his dreams thanks to the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll, the coach who recruited him over 10 years ago, is giving the linebacker a second chance.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number or a jersey. I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. I got to my locker and saw that there was a jersey in it and I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself. It was amazing just to see my name on the back of it. It’s just an honor. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”
Banks has been working with the third team as a middle linebacker, and linebackers coach Ken Norton admits it is an uphill battle.
“This is the NFL—the best of the best—so it’s going to be really tough for him,” Norton said. “Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that. But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough.”
Banks knows what he is up against, and is not looking for any hand outs. He was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, and likely spent the last five years getting back into shape. Hell, thanks to that girl, he didn’t have much else he could do.
“I don’t want nobody to take it easy on me out here. I know I have a lot of work to do and if that’s what’s required, then definitely give it to me. I’m ready for it.
He’ll likely have to start out making an impact on special teams, but if Banks makes the roster it’ll be one of the most talked about stories to begin the NFL season.
Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. He contributes mainly to the New York Giants and NFL Rumors pages. He also will occasionally touch on the NBA and humorous videos involving all sports.
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