With 7:57 left in the Atlanta Falcons’ first preseason game Thursday night, a little bit of history was made: Brian Banks, who not that long ago was in prison for a rape he did not commit, entered an NFL game.
It was a far cry from where he had been. Banks spent five years in prison and four on probation because of a lie a “friend” told on him when he was a senior in high school. Instead of playing college ball on scholarship at USC, he was imprisoned.
Exonerated when the woman admitted she had lied, Banks resumed his childhood dream of being an NFL player. He is a long shot to make the Falcons, but that could not take away what he experienced Thursday night.
“It was out of control,” the Falcons’ linebacker said after their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at the Georgia Dome. “Just running out there–the flames, the cheers, the crowd. I wasn’t nervous at all but just the emotion of running through the tunnel, the adrenalin that comes with it, is better than any roller coaster ride you could get on.”
Banks understands that the years away from football are against him.
“Do I have to make it?” Banks asked, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t feel like I have to, but I want to–not just for myself but for my family, for the people who’ve supported me and believed in me. For people who’ve lost hope in their own [life]. If I can be some kind of vessel, to show people that no matter the hard time you experienced, you can still succeed, I want to put out that positive energy, to never quit and never give up. . . This is what I was waiting for the whole time. I played an NFL game.”