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Brian Banks credits his mom on his first day as a Falcon

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 10.59.46 AM

On his first day at his new job, Falcons linebacker Brian Banks said he’s delighted that his mom can say she has a son in the NFL.

Banks, the onetime high school football star who lost his scholarship to USC and spent five years in prison after he was falsely accused of rape, signed with the Falcons today and told reporters on a conference call that the person he’s thinking about the most on the day his NFL dream finally came true is his mom.

“I want to thank the Atlanta Falcons, the entire organization,” Banks said. “This is beyond me, this opportunity — my family, my mother who’s gone through so much, my mother who raised me to be the man I am today, who stood by me as I went through hell and back. When you talk about coming from the bottom, I know all too well what that is. . . . She is the strongest woman I know, and without her this would not be happening.”

Banks said his family always believed in his innocence, and believed he would be exonerated eventually. And he said that while getting a spot on an NFL offseason roster is a great first step, it’s not his ultimate goal.

“Besides getting my life and my freedom back, this is the biggest accomplishment of my life. But it is also just the beginning,” Banks said. “Making it onto the 53-man roster with the Atlanta Falcons is definitely, for me, in my situation and everything that I’ve overcome, that is a successful career for me.”

As glad as Banks is to be where he is today, he also discussed how tough it was to be falsely accused and imprisoned. Even after his prison sentence ended, before his accuser admitted she made the whole thing up, Banks had a difficult life as a man who wasn’t really free: Banks talked today about how difficult it was being a registered sex offender, which meant that he couldn’t find any company willing to hire him for any job and couldn’t ever go within 2,000 feet of a school, as monitored by the GPS device locked to his ankle.

“I wish that no one has to experience what I’ve been through,” Banks said.

Banks has been through a lot, but he doesn’t sound like a bitter man. He sounds mostly like a man who’s glad to know he made his mom proud.

Photo via Atlanta Falcons on Instagram.

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62 Responses to “Brian Banks credits his mom on his first day as a Falcon”
  1. jhmason416 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:29 PM

    Big Big props for the Atlanta Falcons for giving this guy a well deserved chance to live a dream. Will be pulling for him to get out there and live the dream of playing in the NFL.

  2. beckzhere says: Apr 3, 2013 12:30 PM

    Great story, but now it’s time to produce on the field. I’m sure he will add good depth to an above average LB corp.

  3. tambrady says: Apr 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    What an incredible story. Glad to see this kid getting a chance. I will definitely be rooting for him!

  4. Lev says: Apr 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    Excellent for Brian! The power of perseverance has given him such an opportunity!

    Now make that 53 man!!!

  5. hawkmojo says: Apr 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    You go Brian, God bless you

  6. blacknole08 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    He’s such an inspiration and much respect for not holding a grudge. They need to lock that woman up for the same amount of time he had to spend in there.

    This just goes to show that women can be even colder than men sometimes.

  7. 4thquartermagic says: Apr 3, 2013 12:33 PM

    This story is just awesome.

    If there is any justice in this world, he’ll start an NFL game one day.

    Best of luck to him.

  8. leggett17 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:33 PM

    He pled no contest to something he didn’t do. That’s the lesson here.

  9. jessethegreat says: Apr 3, 2013 12:34 PM

    Gotta tip your hat to the kid.

    To the woman that did all this to him… May you feel scorns and hatred from every woman you ever pass that was really assaulted.

  10. ugly4s says: Apr 3, 2013 12:35 PM

    I’m rooting pretty hard for this kid.

  11. whatnojets says: Apr 3, 2013 12:38 PM

    Wish you well and good luck, Mr. Banks!

  12. beardinals says: Apr 3, 2013 12:39 PM

    Making it on the roster at this point is a HUGE obstacle. I’ll be pulling for him to make it. I’m thinking movie rights will help him out financially too.

  13. timbuttrum says: Apr 3, 2013 12:42 PM

    How can you NOT root for this guy? IMO, if a person falsely accuses someone and they are incarcerated because of that accusation, then that accuser should serve the same time PLUS additional time for lying under oath. This man lost five years of his life because of a lie. That is sickening.

  14. akabobbo says: Apr 3, 2013 12:43 PM

    Truly a great accomplishment, and I hope you have successful career in the NFL

  15. dbones750 says: Apr 3, 2013 12:45 PM

    Do it! Go Brian, we’re all rooting for you! Round of applause for the Falcons.

  16. noring4youstill says: Apr 3, 2013 12:49 PM

    Hate the FalCants. But great to see him land with a team.

  17. nineroutsider says: Apr 3, 2013 12:49 PM

    I think its great that he’s not bitter, but I’m bitter for him. His accuser deserves a special place in hell.

  18. realskipbayless says: Apr 3, 2013 12:50 PM

    Make a movie about him. Def a lot better of a story then micheal oher’s in my opinion.

  19. frankiemontana says: Apr 3, 2013 12:56 PM

    as I have stated in the past Mr.Banks you sir are a man among man,good luck with the Falcons,to the Falcons thanks for giving this young man a chance i’m sure he will give you all his got.

  20. fdugrad says: Apr 3, 2013 12:57 PM

    Does the lawyer who advised him throughout trial and negotiated his guilty plea bear ANY responsibility in this situation? I have seen NO coverage, or investigation into this question. Is the lying, miserable excuse for a human being who engineered his demise going to receive some kind of punishment? I think Mr. banks is truly magnanimous regarding the entire ordeal, however should he not be compensated in some way financially? His life was turned into a living nightmare by the cabal that conspired against him.

  21. darocnessmonsta says: Apr 3, 2013 12:57 PM

    The Real Justice Would be Taking 5 years of the accuser’s life as well show he the pain and agony this man had to endure not fair she should be punished for a false claim!!!

  22. zn0rseman says: Apr 3, 2013 1:00 PM

    Now the woman who falsely accused him needs to spend five years behind bars.

  23. greysolon says: Apr 3, 2013 1:01 PM

    Good moms are GREAT.

  24. clickablecontent says: Apr 3, 2013 1:02 PM

    What bad side of the bed did people wake up on to thumbs-down “Wish you well and good luck, Mr. Banks!”??? Sheesh.

  25. anygivensundayfan says: Apr 3, 2013 1:06 PM

    OMG, this might actually make me watch Falcons games this season if he makes the 53. I’m still licking my wounds from the Seahawks loss to the Falcons in the playoffs, but mad props to the Falcons for giving this guy his well-deserved shot and I would love to watch him play in the NFL!

  26. immafubared says: Apr 3, 2013 1:06 PM

    No one pleads No contest to something they didn’t do unless your attorney is a figgin moron.
    No contest means Hey I did it and don’t want to fight for my rights basically.
    His story has more fishy tales to it that a fish market.

  27. tommyribs says: Apr 3, 2013 1:07 PM

    I want this guy to make it so bad.

    Best of luck to Brian Banks!

  28. jdubkc says: Apr 3, 2013 1:08 PM

    I really wanted the Chiefs to sign this guy… Best of luck Brian, I think it’s safe to say you already have a million fans. A true inspiration.

  29. fezaz says: Apr 3, 2013 1:13 PM

    I love this guy’s story and motor, but his odds are loooooooong. He couldn’t get on the field (much) for the (now defunct) UFL’s Las Vegas Locos last year. How in the world will he make an NFL roster? Here’s hopin’…

  30. zjfr2 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:23 PM

    what also isn’t mentioned here is his accuser sued USC and the city, won a large several hundred thousand dollar settlement, has already blown through all the money and her and her children are now on welfare.

    She ought to spend at least 5 years in prison herself, but she never will. I in no way denigrate the seriousness of rape and domestic violence, but accusers who are milking the system like her make it tougher for real victims to come forward, get justice, etc. She should be punished for ruining someone’s life and stealing/defrauding the state.

  31. fiyeaglesfiy says: Apr 3, 2013 1:29 PM

    Was a good story about this on 60 minutes a few weeks ago (pretty sure it was 60 minutes)

  32. byrnestj7 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:30 PM

    Good for him! I hope he makes it

  33. justintuckrule says: Apr 3, 2013 1:32 PM

    Man am I retarded. I thought the Falcons signed that 120 lb KR off the Skins also named Banks. Would not have been the wiser if I didn’t mistakenly click this link. Glad that I did. Great story. Hope he makes it!

  34. atk87 says: Apr 3, 2013 1:35 PM

    @immafubared: Bank’s lawyer is the one who advised him to take the plea deal of no contest. The reason for that is one of two likelihoods: 1) the lawyer was lazy and didn’t advise his client appropriately, or 2) the evidence was so heavily stacked against his client that the best course of action was to take the plea deal.

    Banks was facing either 5 years in prison before parole or 40 years in prison with the latter being a likelihood if he plead innocent.

    It’s a sad aspect of criminal law and or justice system. The bottom line should be outrage that innocent men and women are sent to serve sentences for crimes they never committed in this country on a regular basis. This is a norm that shouldn’t be accepted.

  35. ducksflyhigh says: Apr 3, 2013 1:36 PM

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

  36. nflofficeadmin says: Apr 3, 2013 1:37 PM

    This guy should be on Kurt Warner’s show.

  37. murraysons says: Apr 3, 2013 1:43 PM

    If they let him off because they know his accuser was lying, why does he still need to register as a sex offender?

  38. dontbeskerritt says: Apr 3, 2013 1:44 PM

    @immafubared

    How about you read up about the story or watch the 60 minutes piece on him. It will tell you exactly why he pled no contest

  39. rajbais says: Apr 3, 2013 1:46 PM

    I want nothing but the best for him.

    His jailing was tragic. What was an under told tragedy, however, was his rape trial attorney.

    Banks’ mom sold her home to legally fight for Brian, but the attorney said “take a plea deal” instead?

    That’s bad legal advice.

    Jose Canseco’s former attorney Rob Saunooke told longtime writer Pat Jordan that Jose was a “few steps closer to homeless” but stood by him. He may have sued Canseco for unpaid legal fees after their split in 2008, but at least he had enough dignity to keep Canseco out of jail.

    Same with Canseco’s next attorney Greg Emerson. Regardless of Canseco’s finances he kept Jose out of jail after his drug possession bust that same year.

  40. fwippel says: Apr 3, 2013 1:48 PM

    I really hope this guy makes the team, and plays for a long time. I hope he can get back to where he was before all this garbage was dumped on him.

    Good luck, Mr. Banks.

  41. jtylert says: Apr 3, 2013 1:58 PM

    tragic story.

    potential to be the greatest comeback story in sports history?

  42. qdog112 says: Apr 3, 2013 2:04 PM

    Good luck Mr. Banks. Just don’t call Nawrocki for a character reference. I’m sure it was his type that helped railroad you in the first place.

  43. notoriousjebus says: Apr 3, 2013 2:31 PM

    Dear MDS,
    Who pays for these guys to travel to and from and food and lodging for these off season programs? I always assumed the players footed their own expenses, however since 37 of the people who will be participating wont make it onto the 53 man roster and paychecks are only handed out before games, I am wondering if you are a bubble player do you really have to go out of pocket to attend all these off season activities?

  44. santolonius says: Apr 3, 2013 2:44 PM

    as a falcons fan i am real happy to see banks get his second chane. my warning: atl has a strip club on every corner. stay away. someone out there would love to invent some new lies on you.

  45. Dream_Machine says: Apr 3, 2013 3:13 PM

    Hope he makes the team. Didn’t he also get a tryout with the Seahawks when he first got out? Just sayin’.

  46. mikebyrne1502 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:30 PM

    I can’t help but love this guys story, one it shows the flaws in the judicial system and how stereo types always come into play when a situation like that happens, and it also shows an incredible story of courage and the refusal to wilt to anyone’s beliefs but his own.

    I know for sure this kid has got worrier spirit! Statistics show most people who go to prison for that long and get out don’t really rehabilitate because of the inability to get jobs, due to their record, his being the worst of the worst, where do you work when your a sex offender?

    I only hope my son has the same worrier spirit, and has some of the same intangibles this kid has as well, just don’t hope he spends 5yrs in the PEN because some girl gave it up with the hopes she would be his BF.

  47. mikebyrne1502 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:33 PM

    WARRIOR, sorry auto correct lol.

  48. jimjets says: Apr 3, 2013 3:34 PM

    Best of luck to this young man. Fine young man. I hope he makes it, big time.

    (BTW mikebyrne 1502 – the word your trying to spell is warrior. My wife is a worrier)

  49. meytonpanning says: Apr 3, 2013 3:37 PM

    They always say being a woman is so hard because of periods and childbirth. What they don’t realize is on the other side of that coin is people will always believe a woman over a man if there’s no proof.

    I never touched my ex girlfriend in any violent matter, nor did I ever scare her or threaten her. Still, I’ve been pushed out of my home town and lost all my friends because of a lie. People won’t ever believe me because I’m a 19 year old guy with some tattoos.

    It’s not as bad as Banks situation at all, but Banks’ situation gives me motivation to power through my tough time. The guy deserves a career even if it’s not with the NFL.

  50. thestatsishere says: Apr 3, 2013 3:47 PM

    This is the stuff that movies are made of. Good luck Brian!

  51. pigskinrube says: Apr 3, 2013 3:48 PM

    If he makes it, he will the most popular special team player in the NFL!

    Good luck!

  52. wave222 says: Apr 3, 2013 3:53 PM

    GO!! BRIAN GO!!

  53. jaxcliff says: Apr 3, 2013 3:54 PM

    jimjets, the word you’re trying to use is “you’re”, i.e. the contraction of “you are”. Irony is pretty ironic, sometimes …

  54. ochotrinko says: Apr 3, 2013 4:02 PM

    Best of luck to this kid.

  55. jaccfrost says: Apr 3, 2013 4:12 PM

    Just looking at all the positive comments and the “thumbs ups” and I’m wondering what is going on in the mind of the “individuals” who responded with a “thumbs down”. Could that response be a reflection of how their lives are? ijs….

  56. seaeagle707 says: Apr 3, 2013 4:43 PM

    I have no love for the Falcons, but after seeing this guy at the VMAC, and learning his story, I will hope he makes the team.

    I remember the prosecutor saying something about it being too difficult to prosecute the sleazebag who got him jailed. So what I wonder is, we know he was innocent, so everything she said in court about him was perjury. Why would it be difficult to convict her of that?

  57. geo1113 says: Apr 3, 2013 5:02 PM

    Have to love the guy’s sweatshirt: XONR8.

    Best to you, Brian.

  58. bgm9876 says: Apr 3, 2013 6:48 PM

    hes plays great football i wish he signed with the bills.

  59. bgm9876 says: Apr 3, 2013 6:50 PM

    “It’s almost impossible to explain, the feeling of not having freedom, to be stripped away of your freedom, of your dignity, the respect you once had,” Banks told the Associated Press. “To lose it all and watch the world pass you by as you sit inside a prison cell, knowing you shouldn’t be there, knowing you’re there because of another person’s lies, to lose it all and then get it all back, it’s a very humbling, spiritual feeling that you just don’t want to take anything for granted.”

    Banks was 16-years-olds when a fellow classmate accused him of rape

  60. therealpittbull says: Apr 4, 2013 9:13 AM

    Nothing can restore the years lost from this young man. Regardless of new chances, opportunities, and events, he lost valuable years of his life. For ten years plus, his reputation, integrity, and name was destroyed, while those who failed in the process, continued on with life.

    Through that time, he missed his personal events, family events, and the time to be all his dreams asked for. I’m happy that justice has finally prevailed, but sorrowful, for so many, black, white, and others, that sit in HUMAN ZOOS, not built for rehabilitation, but coraling “animals”. When they are released, most are worst, not better, so I thank God his spirit was not completely broken.

    I hope that he becomes an excellent role model, adveqate, and leader for so many in similar situations. I applaud him and his family for making through. That’s a jersey, I could buy.

  61. sprizzle2182 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:41 PM

    i could talk for hours about the trash who put him away and what should become of her, but honestly, shes gotten too much time, money and undeserved attention for what she did to him so im going to keep my rant about her to myself, as for Brian, he talks like a guy who truly appreciates his life right now, he knows the hard work its going to take to make the official roster and i have NO doubt in my mind he will give the Falcons 100% of himself…i hope its enough..i would love to see him out there suited up, playing along side the guys and being cheered on by my fellow Falcons fans…if Tony G coming back, Brian’s story of overcoming something no1 should ever have to and Matty Ice’s impending contract extension arent enough motivation to get this team where we want to be next Feb im not sure what more we can do…lol…good luck Mr Banks and RISE UP!!!!!!!!

  62. sprizzle2182 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:48 PM

    seaeagle707 says:
    Apr 3, 2013 4:43 PM
    I have no love for the Falcons, but after seeing this guy at the VMAC, and learning his story, I will hope he makes the team.

    I remember the prosecutor saying something about it being too difficult to prosecute the sleazebag who got him jailed. So what I wonder is, we know he was innocent, so everything she said

    it honestly wouldnt be that hard, but heres why they wont, she never testified in court bc his attorney had him plead no contest so she didnt commit purgery (a felony and easier to prosecute), at most they would get her with false statements which would be no more than 12m probation, also, she was a juvenille when she lied, making it a weird situation. the biggest reason they arent is bc other than the probation, they could try to make her pay back the $750,000 settlement she got, but shes been living off welfare for years now and isnt even paying the child support shes owes for her 2 kids bc she wont find a job…unfortunately the cali legal system is so full bc of the 3 strikes rule that going after some piece of trash for money they will never get, pay for her court appointed attoreny and end up putting her on probation she’ll prob violate is what they consider a waste of time…its not right by any means, but its the ways of the legal system, very technical and not always smart…i say save the time and money and just do the ole eye for an eye, stick her in a steel cage for 5 years and give her some bread and water…treat her like the nasty b*tch she is…

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