There’s no doubt Brian Banks is the inspirational story of the 2013 NFL preseason, and not only for the Atlanta Falcons. He’s been given that rare second chance to fully chase his first dream, and he has no intention of letting that dream slip through his fingers…or shoulder pads.
However, training camp is not that far underway, and the jury is still out on what the Falcons future holds for Banks. Linebackers coach Glenn Pires said that Banks is “on schedule” and “progressing well like all of the other young guys.” Head coach Mike Smith is often loathe to say anything bluntly negative about any of his players, but continues to be complimentary of Banks: “He’s retaining a lot more…If anybody can do it and hang in there, I think Brian is the guy that can do it.”
If pure heart and determination have anything to do with it, Banks will make the 53-man roster when all is said and done. Don’t look for him to gain a starting position immediately, or even in the immediate future. His learning curve is anything but easy, and not just because he’s being placed in multiple positions and situations. He lost ten years off the top with his conviction and imprisonment, so he’s understandably rusty on the field. However, I expect the rust to wear off sooner than later. The keys for Banks are the need to be willing to learn and able to adapt when necessary; he’s bearing up admirably with both.
Banks isn’t young in terms of NFL viability age, but he is in terms of NFL field time. This rookie is making an impression on and off the field with his work ethic, and his efforts are not going unnoticed. It is this work ethic and determination to succeed that will take him to—and through—a fruitful NFL future.
Hopefully that NFL future keeps his shining star with the Atlanta Falcons.