Linebacker Brian Banks was an uplifting story throughout the offseason and training camp. After spending five years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Banks finally was released and given the chance to pursue his NFL dream. but unfortunately professional football is a business, and after the Falcons completed their preseason the team announced that Brian Banks did not make the team’s final roster.
A temporary setback for Banks, who is hoping to land elsewhere or perhaps even on the Falcons’ practice squad this season.
He is not the average NFL newcomer, at 28 years old he is several years older than many of the men he was competing for roster spots with. Those younger fellows often come with more experience than a man who likely was a bit rusty after spending half of a decade behind bars.
Not many people can even find a contract at 28 years old if they have not already logged several years in the league. The only rookie near that age that comes to mind is quarterback Brandon Weeden of the Cleveland Browns, who will turn 30 during his second season in the league this year.
Falsely convicted of rape and kidnapping a decade ago, Banks has already overcame a lot in his life. One more setback in his comeback is not going to derail his dreams. After the woman who pressed the charges recanted the accusation against Banks, a California court overturned the conviction and allowed Banks to regain his freedom.
Adjusting to the professional game has been a challenge, but Banks showed steady improvement during his time with the Falcons.
Not discouraged, Banks acknowledged his development as a football player will not follow the typical pattern of an NFL rookie. “My learning curve is definitely different from a lot of the guys here,” he said. “I was learning a lot of the one-on-one basic things of football as well as the intermediate things of football and meshing them all together at once in a small period of time. It was definitely challenging, but I’ve enjoyed myself the whole time.”
“Brian is a guy that has not played football in 10 years,” Falcons coach Mike Smith told reporters after the team finished the preseason on Thursday night. “He has really matured and progressed as a football player since we’ve had him on our roster.”
Banks only was able to make it on the field in limited doses throughout the four preseason games. He only played 31 snaps in four games, making two tackles. One of those tackles was for loss.
Now that the Atlanta Falcons have waived Banks, he must look to earn another opportunity to make an NFL roster.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express