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.