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Brian Banks: This is by far the second-best day of my life

Seattle Seahawks Town Hall AP

Brian Banks, the former high school football star whose promising career was cut short when he was falsely accused of rape and sent to prison, tried out for the Seahawks today and got an invitation to next week’s minicamp. After getting that invitation, Banks said he’s had only one better feeling.

This is by far the second-best day of my life,” Banks said. “May 24, my day of exoneration, and then today. To be out on this field, to work out with the Seahawks, to be given an opportunity to have a tryout, I really don’t have words for it. This is a dream come true.”

Banks was imprisoned after a high school classmate, apparently motivated by a plan to extract money from their school in a lawsuit, claimed he raped her on school grounds. He spent the first five years of his adult life in prison after that, but he said today that he isn’t bitter.

“Not at all — look where I am,” Banks said with a laugh. “The last thing I want is to be bitter. I had those days, when I first received a six-year sentence, I had those days when I just wanted to lay in my cell and be angry and be bitter, but I realized all that did was keep me in the cell, bitter and angry.”

Banks joked about his flight to Seattle for his tryout, saying an experience that most of us consider a headache is a pleasure for someone who was locked up for five years.

“I haven’t flown in a plane in over 15 years, and before that I’ve only flown one time,” Banks said. “Even walking through the whole check-in area, taking your shoes off — I know a lot of people complain about that, but I was thrilled about it.”

Seeing Banks on the field for the Seahawks would be the feel-good story of the NFL season, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that’s a possibility. But Carroll also acknowledged that Banks “looks like a guy who hasn’t been schooled and worked out in the kind of fashion that our guys have, at this level.”

It’s unlikely that Banks will still be with the Seahawks in three months. But he’s thrilled to be there now.

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42 Responses to “Brian Banks: This is by far the second-best day of my life”
  1. wethog66 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:12 PM

    Great story, but I wish he tried to play football in college somewhere. Try and get back some of the experiences that being in prison took away from him. Easy for me to say I suppose.

  2. seahulk9 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:17 PM

    where are you norcalmafia??? I was expecting some nuggets of wisdom.
    good luck brian hope you find a way to make the squad

  3. captainwisdom8888 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:20 PM

    It’s appalling that a bit of hearsay could have you on your way to a cage with the snap of a finger. Females have us by the balls with that type of power in their control…so think twice before you call the girl a c**t again.

  4. rbell2123 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:30 PM

    Best of luck to him. Such a great attitude, hope everything works out for him.

  5. brenenostler says: Jun 7, 2012 8:39 PM

    While I feel bad for all that he’s been through, there’s no way he’s ready for the NFL.

  6. sonoco says: Jun 7, 2012 8:42 PM

    Well good for him. If he’s lucky he’ll make the practice squad and have an opportunity to work himself into shape. And there’s a special place in hell reserved for the evil broad that caused this.

  7. sea3369 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:44 PM

    Oh dont worry the idiot norcal will post here for someone who runs his mouth about the hawks he sure follows all the hawks stories… Closet hawk fan (he just hasnt come outta the closet yet he will jump on the band wagon this year i bet) :p

  8. backindasaddle says: Jun 7, 2012 8:52 PM

    I am rooting for this guy with a passion.

  9. 2ndaryinsanity says: Jun 7, 2012 8:55 PM

    Brian Banks has an amazing attitude. Many people (myself included) might be eaten alive with bitterness and hatred after going through this horribly unfair ordeal. I hope one of the 32 teams will at least give him a shot and invite him to their training camp (if he’s talented but just needs time to get back in “football shape,” maybe they can put him on the practice squad).
    I wish nothing but the best for this young man.

  10. LoCoSu@%s says: Jun 7, 2012 8:59 PM

    Makes me appreciate the freedom we have. I would be very interested how this young man’s journey turns out, NFL career or otherwise.
    On a different note – does the state compensate him for the horrendous mistake they made? They can never give him back the time he spent behind bars – do they at least give him some monetary compensation?

  11. norcalmafia says: Jun 7, 2012 9:00 PM

    Seahulk you forgot to put a 7 before the 9 in your name…Sell the Seahawks and move them to l.a where they actually have a chance to become a legitimate team with a real fanbase..

  12. cowboyscanada says: Jun 7, 2012 9:00 PM

    I trust the female did time in prison!?
    Hope he makes the Seahawks! If he doesnt catch on in the NFL, his agent should get him a look in Canada in the CFL.

  13. xx4zu1 says: Jun 7, 2012 9:04 PM

    Stash the kid (well man at this point) on the practice squad. The NFL should give a roster exemption for him to the team. If they were so interested in rehabbing Mike Vicks image, they should at least let him have a shot at getting up to speed. Even if he only played on Special Teams this would be a great thing for the NFL to do.

    The state should compensate him and he really should sue that womans @ss off but I can imagine he never wants to see the inside of a courtroom again.
    Good luck brother.

  14. seattlerogueburner says: Jun 7, 2012 9:12 PM

    Classy! Good job Hawks.

    I hope that girl is in prison herself. That’s a horrible act to ruin someone’s new adult life.

  15. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 7, 2012 9:13 PM

    If he’s excited now wait til he meets Ben Rothlisberger!!! That man can show you how to side step a court case and then go to the Superb Owl.

  16. norcalmafia says: Jun 7, 2012 9:15 PM

    49ers,Packers,Steelers,Raiders,Cowboys

    Seahawks,Cardinals,Jaguars,Titans

    Your just mad cause your on a lower tier and know it..Face it youll never be a respected franchise or a popular one..Accept your role in the back row where you and everyone else knows your football team and city belong!

    Pretty bad when your basketball team leaves you for OKC!Lol…Seattle is the worst sports town in America!

  17. misfit74 says: Jun 7, 2012 9:21 PM

    Banks could be the next quality player plucked from (football) obscurity to contribute to the Seahawks.

    Cool story and I think based on Carroll’s history with UDFAs and FA pickups, Banks could actually earn his way on the team down the road.

  18. lilmidas says: Jun 7, 2012 9:37 PM

    kudos to pete carroll 4 giving this kid a 2nd chance. aka the new american way

  19. kingcarlbanks says: Jun 7, 2012 9:40 PM

    In the immortal words of BBD, “never trust a big button and a smile”.

  20. textexington says: Jun 7, 2012 9:45 PM

    Moon crickets.

  21. cowboys8819 says: Jun 7, 2012 10:26 PM

    I will be rooting for this guy! Just can’t imagine what he has gone through. Good Luck man!

  22. kgun80 says: Jun 7, 2012 10:27 PM

    Good luck!! This kid may not make the team buy if the talent is there I hope someone takes time to develop him as a player. He deserves an opportunity.

  23. elmustardo says: Jun 7, 2012 10:30 PM

    So let me get this straight.

    The guy gets exonerated after serving his sentence, gets no type of restitution, and the fake-victim doesn’t get any type of punishment nor does she have to pay the money back that she profited from her lie and his incarceration.

    Sounds like somebody is owed a rapin’

  24. nycoccet says: Jun 7, 2012 11:18 PM

    I read that he did 5yrs bc the girl won close to 2 mil in a lawsuit and wouldn’t tell the truth for fear of losing her settlement. Everyone wants to be rich but what kind of PUKE ruins someones life like that. If that was me the money would be pointless bc i wouldn’t even be able to sleep knowing some innocent kid is in a State Penitentiary with rapist and murders. Everyone treating him like hes a rapist while he rots in a prison while his dreams are taken from him. Its scary out there. I work with a friend who is a Captain of the local police and he told me this happens alot. He said bottom line if you have sex with a girl and she says you raped her then you raped her..he said they’ll press her but if she sticks to it you’re F’D.

  25. rickyspanish says: Jun 8, 2012 12:06 AM

    norcalmafia

    Are you forgetting the beastquake we caused in Seattle? I don’t care if people from other cities like the Seahawks, we have a loud and proud fan base here that is loyal. Harbaugh inherited a good team and coached them well, Slippery Pete built a team, a young team.

  26. superbowlseahawks says: Jun 8, 2012 12:14 AM

    Norcalmafia is too busy watching videos of Singletary dropping his pants in the locker room to see how great the Seahawks team is.

  27. peepeetoucher says: Jun 8, 2012 1:55 AM

    This guy and Eric LeGrand have so many reasons to be bitter and hate the world and I would fully understand it, yet they both are so inspiring. I’ve been locked up for my own doing and I was bitter at everything for that even though I caused it. I couldn’t imagine being innocent and knowing that some ho lied and I’m sitting in jail and still have a positive outlook in life. She also got paid on top of me being in a cell. Oh man, Both are half the man I am. God Bless you bro, good luck with whatever you do in life not just football Brian.

  28. seahawks55 says: Jun 8, 2012 1:55 AM

    Go Seahawks!!!!! but more importantly….. GO BRIAN BANKS!!!!!!!!

  29. seahawks55 says: Jun 8, 2012 1:56 AM

    There are things that are more important than being in the NFL, and that is achieving your dreams no matter the circumstances. Brian Bankes 2012. Run for president!

  30. blc70 says: Jun 8, 2012 1:57 AM

    Is there really someone here saying Seattle is inferior because our basketball team moved to OKC? Is that same guy saying to move our football team to LA? LA lost TWO NFL teams to Oakland and St. Louis. Really? What a clown.

  31. justcuz15 says: Jun 8, 2012 3:18 AM

    norcalmafia
    Really? You think they got better fans in la? seattle sells iut games even when were not playing well. The sonics had a real fan base still do they just got robbed, the lakers fanbase is made up of bandwagon jumpers and people who just wana get seen in the same arena as jack nicholson.
    The seahawks fanbase are real crazy enthusiastic fans who shake the stadium even if the hawks play really bad. As for the la football fans…
    In conclusion the seahawks are a very young team building up mounting sucsess with a killer defense a fine recieving core a servicable qb andan unstoppable bolling ball gor a running back
    Stop hattin ya troll

  32. jahmic says: Jun 8, 2012 3:19 AM

    I know very little about a law, but, what was his lawyer thinking about pleading ‘guilty’ without a shred of evidence besides the girl’s testimony?

    Furthermore, assuming this was his first offense of any type, and wasn’t a problem in prison, why didn’t he get more off than the one year of a 6 year sentence?

    Think of some big names that have done worse or similar and got lots of time taken off.

  33. jimbo75025 says: Jun 8, 2012 4:41 AM

    elmustardo says:Jun 7, 2012 10:30 PM

    So let me get this straight.

    The guy gets exonerated after serving his sentence, gets no type of restitution, and the fake-victim doesn’t get any type of punishment nor does she have to pay the money back that she profited from her lie and his incarceration.

    ________

    Well, I agree with this portion of your statement. I would also wager that the statute of limitations on perjury or whatever expired so she could admit it without much fear of losing her millions. Karma certainly owes her some payback of some sort.

  34. skinsfan76 says: Jun 8, 2012 8:03 AM

    Good luck Banks! It’s a shame what happen but you are making the best of your opportunity and I hope good things happen for ya.

  35. rufustfireflyjr says: Jun 8, 2012 8:49 AM

    jimbo, my understanding is that she is on welfare because her mother spent most of the money, so it seems that payback has already occurred. Unless, of course, that’s also a sham and the money is sitting in an offshore account somewhere, earning interest.

  36. jm91rs says: Jun 8, 2012 9:07 AM

    This is a feel good story, but there’s no way this kid is ready for an NFL playbook. I’m assuming that by trying out he’s ruining his eligibility in college?

    Someone should have given him a scholarship so he could spend a year or two playing at a high level and then try out for the NFL. There are grants and scholarships out there that I’m sure someone would give him. I worry that if he doesn’t make the team (how could he after 6 years away from the game), he’ll be so far behind the rest of the world with no schooling.

  37. jm91rs says: Jun 8, 2012 9:08 AM

    elmustardo says:Jun 7, 2012 10:30 PM

    So let me get this straight.

    The guy gets exonerated after serving his sentence, gets no type of restitution, and the fake-victim doesn’t get any type of punishment nor does she have to pay the money back that she profited from her lie and his incarceration.

    ____________________________________
    I believe I saw somewhere that he will get some restitution but it’s minimal. Certainly not going to make him rich, and any amount of restitution won’t give him his life back.

  38. torturedraiderfan says: Jun 8, 2012 12:38 PM

    I hope this kid makes it in life. Seems like society owes him something for what he’s been through. And that rotten, slimy bitch that did this to him should pay for her crime.

  39. NoHomeTeam says: Jun 8, 2012 12:40 PM

    elmustardo says: “So let me get this straight. The guy gets exonerated after serving his sentence, gets no type of restitution, and the fake-victim doesn’t get any type of punishment nor does she have to pay the money back that she profited from her lie and his incarceration. Sounds like somebody is owed a rapin’”

    ********************

    I believe California law does provide for restitution in the case of wrongful imprisonment. The award amounts are set by a review committee and vary by circumstance, but can be as high as $100.00 per day. I don’t know what criteria would have to be met for the maximum award, or if it has ever been paid out at that level, but that could be a substantial amount of money.

    Does it make up for having 5 years of your life taken away? No, of course not, particularly if we project that this young man had a high likelihood of succeeding in the NFL. But the financial restitution could provide him with a solid launching pad for the next phase of his life, if managed well.

  40. savannahrose44 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:48 PM

    seahulk9 says:
    Jun 7, 2012 8:17 PM
    where are you norcalmafia??? I was expecting some nuggets of wisdom.
    good luck brian hope you find a way to make the squad

    ————————————————-

    I know it’s hard….but stop feeding the troll.

  41. jimmylions says: Jun 8, 2012 12:52 PM

    This is a pretty cool example of Pete Carroll making an effort to be a decent guy and help right a wrong.

    My thinking is the time Banks is spending in Seattle may help him prep for an audition in the arena league or in Canada. And if he shows some of his old flash, he might even make the practice squad.

    If he makes the team, there will be folks lining up for the book rights and film rights.

  42. NoHomeTeam says: Jun 8, 2012 12:57 PM

    jm91rs says: “This is a feel good story, but there’s no way this kid is ready for an NFL playbook. I’m assuming that by trying out he’s ruining his eligibility in college? . .. Someone should have given him a scholarship so he could spend a year or two playing at a high level and then try out for the NFL. There are grants and scholarships out there that I’m sure someone would give him. I worry that if he doesn’t make the team (how could he after 6 years away from the game), he’ll be so far behind the rest of the world with no schooling.”

    Since the NCAA eligibility rules are pretty arcane, this is just speculation, but I don’t think simply trying out voids his opportunity to play college football. If he hires an agent, or if a team actually pays him for playing football, then I’d say he’s out of luck.

    My guess would be that thought the opportunity to make an NFL roster would be greater now — even without high-level college experience — than it would be with two or three more years peeled off the calendar; the NFL is a highly age-conscious league.
    The buzz from this feel-good story will have faded quite a bit in two years, and it’s fairly likely that, to the League, he would then be just a good player from a good school, with a potentially shorter productive career than an equally talented player from an equally good school.

    Your concerns about about his future prospects are warranted, but it’s not surprising that he’s chosen this route.

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