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The Rookies: Why Atlanta Falcons’ Brian Banks Has the Most Compelling NFL Story


There’s a documentary being produced about his life story. He was featured on CNN, 60 Minutes and many other high-profile shows.

It’s hard to get over the Brian Banks story.

In case you don’t know, Banks was a standout athlete at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, Calif., back in 2002. After mulling offers from some of the top programs in the country, the 6’4”, 225-pound linebacker committed to play for Pete Carroll at USC.

Everything was looking up until a classmate falsely accused Banks of rape. He faced a possible 41-year sentence but eventually agreed to a plea deal of five years’ prison time, probation and being registered as a sex offender.

In 2012, his accuser admitted to her lie while being secretly recorded. The courts set Banks free, and he was exonerated at the age of 27. Five years of his life had been stolen from him.

Being falsely imprisoned would have broken most of us, but Banks stayed in shape both physically and mentally while behind bars, determined not to let his accuser win.

Once he was released in 2012, he signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL. He also had a tryout with Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks during NFL minicamps, and a year later, has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

Banks still has a long way to go after such a long time away from the gridiron. He needs to learn terms, concepts and new techniques if he wishes to make the Falcons’ roster as an inside linebacker.

Regardless of whether he makes the team, the now 28-year-old will continue to serve as a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project, a cause he’s been very outspoken about.

Check out the video above, as we caught up with Banks getting ready for the Falcons training camp in West Hollywood. And let us know in the comments below if you think he will make an impact in the NFL this year or in the future.