Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Eleven years ago Brian Banks would not have any reason to doubt that he would one day be a starting linebacker for an NFL team. After being highly recruited out of high school, the Long Beach native had decided to take his talents to the nearby University of Southern California to play for the Trojans led by the idolized Coach Pete Carroll. At this point in time, Banks was looking at four years of college life in sunny Los Angeles playing linebacker for a national championship caliber football team before entering the NFL draft where he would have a successful professional football career barring any serious injury. Wanetta Gibson had different plans for this football star. What Brian Banks thought was an innocent jaunt to the notorious Long Beach Polytechnic High School make-out spot with his classmate turned out to be enough evidence to falsely convict him of kidnap and rape. Though his mother sold her car and house to be able to afford a lawyer for her innocent son, Banks was ill-advised by his lawyer to accept a plea deal rather than select a jury due to the fact that he was a big, black teenager and the jury he would most likely select would be all white. As a young, eighteen-year old Banks was forced to make a decision in only ten minutes that would change his life. After five years behind bars and five years on house arrest, Brian Banks was finally exonerated for the crime he did not commit. Eleven years after the hope of a career in the NFL disappeared in ten minutes twenty-seven year old Brian Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Brian Banks’ inspiring return to football after being wrongfully accused of rape has become worldwide news. His story has been shared on talk shows, newscasts, and countless articles like this one. Banks has been more than willing to share his story to help the countless others who have yet to be exonerated for the crimes they did not commit. However, his focus now is finding redemption in making the Falcons’ final 53-man roster. While there are no promises that Banks will make the final 53-man roster, the Falcons have been impressed by what they have seen at the rookie mini camp. Banks is competing for an inside line backer spot and was given the leadership role of running the defense at rookie minicamp in May. While the twenty-seven year old linebacker who has been out of the game for eleven years has a lot of work to do, Banks’ passion rivals any other competitor. When asked in an interview with 11Alive News if he felt any sort of revenge for the cards life had dealt him, Banks said “the best revenge is success…football will be something that I will put my all into, I will make a 53-man roster…I’m going to play. Just like I said I would be signed by the NFL. Just like I said I would prove my innocence. Just like I said I would survive prison. Why stop now?” The Falcons are lacking in depth at the linebacker position though they do have a strong core with Sean Witherspoon and Stephen Nicholas on the outside and Akeem Dent in the middle.  Head Coach Mike Smith and the rest of the Falcons’ organization state that Brian Banks was not signed because of his inspirational story but rather because of the potential that he exhibited in his tryout and throughout rookie minicamp. Brian Banks (Photo Credit:Todd Kirkland/Getty Images North America) Banks progressed dramatically throughout rookie minicamp, OTAs, and veteran minicamp catching the eye of linebackers coach Glenn Pires. Banks knows he has to make up for lost time but he believes he is not as far behind as some may think. Banks says, “The mental side of things, getting all the plays, the checks, the motions — everything — it’s all starting to just make sense and click. That’s been my biggest thing is, once it clicks, watch out, because when it’s there, it’s over.” Brian Banks is by far one of the most interesting players to watch when Falcons training camp begins on July 25th. Be on the lookout for more articles on his performance and if you want to learn more about Banks’ story and his efforts to help fellow exonerated men and women, check out Banks’ personal Facebook page here. Now it is your turn. Do you think Brian Banks has what it takes to make the Atlanta Falcons final 53-man roster? Voice your thoughts in the comment section below!
1 Comment:
  • I have not seen his skill set, or how well he uses it in live game sets. Yes, if he does have "what it takes" then he not only deserves it, but earned it! I hope the girl was arrested for her part, and whoever else was involved. Good luck Brian .. I'm rooting for you!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

Eric Berry sends out Thanksgiving message

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks about Eminem referencing her

WATCH: Dwayne Harris dirty hit on Nolan Carroll sparks fight

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.