It was his faith in his innocence and that the truth would eventually come out that allowed Brian Banks to get through 10 years of jail and house arrest for a crime he didn’t commit.
That faith also has Banks confident in his football abilities and that he will seize the opportunity given to him by the Atlanta Falcons. Banks signed with the Falcons last week after getting a few tryout opportunities with teams last offseason.
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Banks not only believes he can make the Falcons roster, he believes he can ultimately become a starter in the NFL as well.
“When you’ve been through 10 years of hell, and you get a chance to fulfill your dream, you’re not going to take that lightly,” Banks said. “After working out with these guys this offseason, I believe in myself as a player even more. I truly believe I will make a 53-man roster. I believe I will play. And I believe eventually I will start.”
Banks played sparingly in the United Football League last season before the league ceased operations mid-season. NFL teams chose to pass on signing Banks to a contract. Banks was not yet in football shape and still hadn’t played any organized football since high school.
Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff insists Banks’ signing isn’t a charity case and that he can compete for a roster spot. Banks understands that perception but is convinced he can prove the Falcons right for giving him a chance.
“That’s not something I can control,” Banks said. “All I know is I have been given a chance. As coach [Mike] Smith and Mr. Dimitroff told me, ‘We didn’t bring you here for nothing. There’s no reason for us to bring you in, unless we think you have a chance to help us.’ But when people say I really don’t have a chance, it fuels me. I do have to cover some ground, but what I’m happy about right now is that even though I am 27, I’m a young 27.”
Becoming an NFL starter may still be a long-shot proposition. However, even if Banks is just able to make an NFL roster and get on the field, it will be an amazing accomplishment for a man that’s had to overcome so much already.