A decade ago, Brian Banks thought his dreams had been dashed.
Falsely accused of rape and kidnapping, Banks lost everything. His future plans went from four years at the University of Southern California on a full-ride to 62 months in prison.
In a shocking turnaround, Banks, who was recently exonerated, has arranged tryouts with six NFL teams, the Seattle Times reports.
One of the coaches giving him a chance is none other than the man who gave him a scholarship. The coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll, once inked the deal to bring Banks to USC as the coach there 10 years ago. The Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, among other teams, will also look at Banks.
According to Rick Reilly of ESPN, Banks and Wanetta Gibson kissed in a school stairwell when he was 16 years old. The next day she accused Banks of rape. Even without any hard evidence and no witnesses, Banks’ attorney asked him to cut a deal instead of facing a possible 41 years in jail. An extremely reluctant Banks agreed to plea no contest after his attorney cited his race, age and size as all the evidence a jury would need to convict.
Banks served his time, but continued to struggle when he re-entered society. With a sex offender label and a GPS bracelet around his leg, Banks found it hard to get any meaningful work.
Last year, Banks received the most startling request of his life via Facebook. Gibson, the woman who destroyed his life, popped up in his friend request box. Banks hesitantly accepted and then agreed to meet with Gibson.
But Banks would not be playing the fool twice and hired a private investigator to record his conversation with Gibson. During the meeting, Gibson admitted to fabricating the story that resulted in Banks’ incarceration. With this new information, a judge exonerated Banks.
Since getting his freedom back, Banks has had much less serious problems. “My mouth hurts from smiling,” said Banks, who summed up his recent experiences in one word: “unbelievable.” As Reilly puts it, “It’s not every day that the Washington Redskins call up a man convicted of rape and ask him if he’d agree to a one-day workout.”
Banks is slightly over 6 feet tall, weighs 245 pounds and runs a 4.6 second 40-yard dash.