Dreaming about a shot at making the NFL helped Brian Banks get through the last 10 years of his life, which were marked by five years in prison and five wearing an ankle bracelet because he was falsely accused and convicted of rape when he was 16. Exonerated when the accuser recanted her story last month, Banks got a measure of his life back — and a chance to fulfill that dream.
NFL teams offered training came invitations to the one-time outstanding linebacker who was recruited by USC, among other colleges before the bogus charges. This week, Banks is at the Seattle Seahawks’ three-day mini-camp, and he seems to be making the most of his opportunity.
“Obviously there’s a little rust out there,” Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton said. “But the idea is can he line up and can he chase the ball? So far, it’s about making a first impression, and I like the first impression he left.
“Does he look like a ballplayer? Yes,” Norton said. “Does he move well? Yes. Is there a chance? Absolutely.”
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Still, it is unlikely he will get an invitation to training camp. The decade away from the game, especially not playing in college, has hurt him. Here is what Norton had to say on the team’s website about Banks: “This is the NFL — the best of the best — so it’s going to be really tough for (Banks). 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.”
Surely, Banks went in knowing that. Just to get an opportunity after so much strife — unnecessary strife — has to mean a lot to him.