NFL Rumors: Atlanta Falcons Sign Brian Banks, Linebacker Spent Five Years in Prison After Wrongfully Accused of Rape

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Apr 03, 2013 10:38 AM EDT
Brian Banks"

Brian Banks' story is something that is normally only told in a movie. Banks had a promising football career ahead of him at a young age, but after being accused of a crime he did not commit, his entire life was put on hold. It was later discovered that Banks was wrongfully accused and was then left to pick up a life that never had the chance to begin. His Hollywood ending is coming as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports confirms the Atlanta Falcons have signed Banks, saying he is getting the second chance he deserves.

Banks was convicted on rape and kidnapping charges of a woman at his California high school almost a decade ago. He spent five years in prison and five years on parole. The woman later recanted her accusations of Banks, offering to help clear his name after all these years.

Banks' football career began as a linebacker recruit who had given verbal commitment to USC while Pete Carroll was still the head coach. It was then that he was incarcerated, never getting a chance to play. After being released, Banks had tryouts with the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers prior to last season, but was never offered an NFL contract. Banks continued to work out with NFL trainers and continued to prep for the football season he hoped to get. He then joined the Las Vegas Locomotives, part of the United Football League. The league folded just weeks after the regular season ended last October and Banks was again left without a team.

Banks later went on the CBS program "60 Minutes" and said he has not given up on playing in the NFL one day. He told the show he had been in negotiations with several NFL teams and might be given a chance to sign with someone.

Banks second chance has arrived as the Atlanta Falcons confirm having signed him. The Falcons only have five linebackers under contract for the 2013 season. While his shot at the NFL will be an uphill climb, he stands a shot at making the 53-man roster. His journey begins when the Falcons open for offseason workouts on April 22. 

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