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Brian Banks on debut: It was out of control

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

Many of the players who came onto the field in the final minutes of Thursday night’s preseason games are camp fodder whose identities were a mystery to even hardcore fans.

That’s not the case for Falcons linebacker Brian Banks. Banks’ story of wrongful imprisonment for falsified rape charges and eventual exoneration has been well documented, as has his positive attitude following his 10-year ordeal, which made his appearance in the fourth quarter of the Falcons’ game against the Bengals something more than just winding down the clock on the first exhibition of the year. Banks said the moment was just as exciting as you’d imagine.

“It was out of control,” Banks said, via Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just running out there — the flames, the cheers, the crowd. I wasn’t nervous at all but just the emotion of running through the tunnel, the adrenalin that comes with it, is better than any rollercoaster ride you could get on.”

Banks made a couple of tackles during his brief appearance and he remains a long shot to wind up on the team’s 53-man roster. Banks then showed off his remarkable ability to find a bright side when asked if he needed to make the team to consider his efforts a success.

“Do I have to make it?” Banks said. “I don’t feel like I have to, but I want to — not just for myself but for my family, for the people who’ve supported me and believed in me. For people who’ve lost hope in their own [life]. If I can be some kind of vessel, to show people that no matter the hard time you experienced, you can still succeed, I want to put out that positive energy, to never quit and never give up.”

It’s a strong message from a man who has proven his own strength more often than not since his life took a surreal turn for the worse more than a decade ago.

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45 Responses to “Brian Banks on debut: It was out of control”
  1. twilson962 says: Aug 9, 2013 10:41 AM

    The Falcons should find a spot for him based on character alone. The guy is an inspiration. If he’s at all coachable they really should keep him on the team. His positive attitude after the life-altering ordeal he went through is contagious, and great for any team.

  2. dgoens3109 says: Aug 9, 2013 10:42 AM

    I hope he makes it. You can’t put a price tag on character.

  3. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Aug 9, 2013 10:46 AM

    If only the NFL had some sort of D-league where pre-season games could be played to find depth.. Like maybe each team has a D team and none of the players chosen by coaches play. Only depth players and people who need to go out and warm up or get ready.

    Then Brian Banks would have a way better chance to play.

    Just sayin, I think 10 million viewers for the HOF game shows that we will watch ANYTHING with NFL on it. How high are the ratings for pre-season games? (That get on tv anyway..) Tell me I won’t watch a D-league game of NFL players. I dare you.

  4. wheresmyjuice says: Aug 9, 2013 10:47 AM

    Really hope he finds a team. If he doesn’t maybe someone gives him an opportunity to stay in the public eye around football. This guy is so class…People like myself are going to want to see this guy around if that’s what he would want to do.

    I don’t buy jerseys but I’d buy a Banks one.

  5. johnnyjagfan says: Aug 9, 2013 10:47 AM

    He makes the 53 and I buy his jersey and wear it to every ATL home game this season.

  6. mrmondaynite says: Aug 9, 2013 10:51 AM

    @andrejohnsonforpresident

    The NFL does have a D-League. It’s college football.

  7. mancave001 says: Aug 9, 2013 10:51 AM

    Johnnyjagfan, he makes it and this Eagles fan buys his jersey, too.

  8. ajkazik says: Aug 9, 2013 10:56 AM

    Good for him, can’t help but root for a guy like that. Considering how long he had been out of the game the practice squad would be a great spot to continue to progress – one of the 32 have to find a spot for this kid

  9. nobby821 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:01 AM

    Hell I’ll buy my whole office his Jersey—And I’m a die hard Bucs guy

  10. commonsensedude says: Aug 9, 2013 11:09 AM

    Skins fan here and I’ll gladly wear a Banks jersey, no matter what team he is on.

    What would be especially cool is if he makes it in the NFL, becomes a Super Bowl MVP and the two pieces of trash who put him in jail get to watch him on cable from prison where they’re locked behind bars for ten years each.

  11. scdocal says: Aug 9, 2013 11:10 AM

    Good dude

  12. godofwine330 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:13 AM

    God bless him, man. God bless him. He “crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to.” I don’t want to imagine what he went through. I can’t. You have to root for a guy like that. You have to. And he is not bitter at all? How? Just wow, man. That guy is one helluva guy.

  13. jjackwagon says: Aug 9, 2013 11:14 AM

    Even if he doesn’t make an NFL roster, I have to think he has the skill to make an AFL, CFL or NFL Europe squad. And I will be buying the jersey no matter which one it is. Even…gulp…the Raiders!

    Damn, I can’t believe I just said that.

  14. joerevs300 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:20 AM

    The Falcons should take a look at the lack of leadership among players to stamp out PED’s in baseball and realize that guys with the character, integrity and inspiration of Brian Banks do not come along very often.

    In what can become a “prima donna” league at times, it’s refreshing to see someone look at the opportunity vs. the dollar signs.

    It would take a rash of injuries for him to end up having to go into the starting lineup. But he could inspire the Falcons so much, along with this being T.Gonzalez’s last ride. If not for defensive breakdowns last year they would have been in the Super Bowl.

    Do the right thing Arthur Blank: You struck out with Michael Vick and watched Bobby Petrino slink out in the night. You’ve got a chance to put a real stamp on this team by giving Brian Banks an opportunity. You won’t regret it.

  15. beckzhere says: Aug 9, 2013 11:21 AM

    He will make the team. The talent is there, but even without it, the PR he brings is huge. I’m glad he’s a Falcon and we should see plenty more of him in the next few weeks.

  16. mb2020 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:22 AM

    The Bible says, “It rains on the Just and the Unjust alike”. Banks thanks for showing us it doesn’t rain 365 days a year. God Bless

  17. elliottcovert says: Aug 9, 2013 11:29 AM

    I’m a fan of a different team, but I think ATL should try to find a spot for this guy, whether it’s on special teams or otherwise. What a great story, and it’s so nice to see that he didn’t come out of his experience bitter and angry.

    At the very least, this guy deserves his own ESPN documentary movie, I would watch it.

  18. briang123 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:37 AM

    Banks looked better than Manti T’eo did last night, who looked like he was still playing against Alabama. (And yes I am ashamed that I watched several preseason games last night)

  19. germanstingray says: Aug 9, 2013 11:45 AM

    I wish that I had the amount of patience and ability to forgive that this dude has!

  20. rasta028 says: Aug 9, 2013 11:54 AM

    What a story, he’s a hard worker, it was probably ingrained in him already but getting a 2nd chance and instead of pouting and saying why me, he’s out there just thankful for his shot…I’m really happy for him and hopes he does well….

    A Skins fan

  21. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 9, 2013 11:59 AM

    Guarantee this will be a 30 for 30…

  22. torturedraiderfan says: Aug 9, 2013 12:03 PM

    Everything about this kid is good. I really hope he makes it. Having a kid like this in the league makes up for all the killers, drunks and self-centered a-holes.

  23. thirdistheworrd says: Aug 9, 2013 12:11 PM

    mrmondaynite says: Aug 9, 2013 10:51 AM

    @andrejohnsonforpresident

    The NFL does have a D-League. It’s college football.
    _____________________
    Is that supposed to be clever? It isn’t. And epecially in light of a player who devoted his life to football, but was robbed of his chance to play (much less be a star) in college by a spiteful piece of human garbage.

    AJ2016 (he’s got my vote, and I don’t even like the Texans) has a good point though. There are hundreds of young men who have devoted their entire lives to football, worked their butts off every day since age six, and at the end of the day come away with a bum knee and a degree in “communication studies”.

    Losing NFL Europe as a league to develop practice squad players hurt the NFL as a whole. Guys like Banks, or your favorite practice-squadder, who have the will to be an NFL player, but don’t appear to be able to hack it in the NFL right away, can develop their pro game and demonstrate their value to the NFL.

    Basketball players with the same determination can always find a job and a decent living in Brazil or Greece or Spain (or Croatia, but that doesn’t sound as appealing). I don’t see any reason why the NFL couldn’t put together some kind of developmental league for guys like Banks.

  24. granadafan says: Aug 9, 2013 12:27 PM

    “mrmondaynite says: Aug 9, 2013 10:51 AM
    @andrejohnsonforpresident

    The NFL does have a D-League. It’s college football.”
    =======================================

    That’s an absurd argument. College football has a time limit. Players are almost in their athletic prime by the time their eligibility runs out. There are very few options after college.

    That said, kudos to the Falcons for giving Banks a chance to prove himself. If he’s earned a spot, then the PR value alone for the Falcons would be worth giving him a spot on the roster.

  25. u4iadman says: Aug 9, 2013 12:31 PM

    Raiders fan here….compelling story, I am in too. Someone start a website petition, get this into the media.

  26. Alexandre Branco says: Aug 9, 2013 12:32 PM

    @thirdistheworrd

    We are starting a professional football League here in Brazil (you guys can search for LFA – Liga de Futebol Americano on Facebook, Google, etc., there’s plenty of info) that will start with 6 teams, each one with 7 foreign players with experience that ranges from Div-II football to NFL (most notably a DE that played for the Redskins, Aki Jones).

    On the verge of your comment, it would be an absolute honor to see this guy taking the fields here by storm while showing the world that no one could ever stop him from living his dream. What a humbling, amazing story! You definetely have a supporter in Brazil, Mr. Banks!

  27. keylimelight says: Aug 9, 2013 12:38 PM

    What a rare and beautiful positive attitude Banks has.

    If he doesn’t make the roster, I hope one of the 32 NFL franchises can offer him an ancillary position like assistant to the assistant coach or equipment wrangler/manager or sideline monitor or something that would allow him to stay close to the action in the sport he loves.

  28. EJ says: Aug 9, 2013 12:42 PM

    His chances of making it as one of the 53 is slim at best, but I do believe he has a good chance of making the practice squad. If he does get signed to the PS, there will be interest from other NFL teams.

  29. jayniner says: Aug 9, 2013 12:50 PM

    We need more “Brian Banks” type stories and less “Hernandez” type stories in the NFL.

    As a Niners fan, I’ll buy his jersey if he makes the team and support this kid…

  30. touchdownroddywhite says: Aug 9, 2013 12:55 PM

    I’d prefer to see him be a huge success with the Falcons, obviously, but if he makes a squad anywhere, myself and all my children will be donning Banks jerseys… Yes…. *sigh* even if the worst happens and he becomes a Saint. Some things are bigger than football.

  31. tmi3rd says: Aug 9, 2013 12:59 PM

    Devoted Saints fan here…

    Kudos to Arthur Blank and the entire Falcons organization for signing Banks and giving him a shot. That’s a classy move, and much bigger than the Saints/Falcons rivalry. If he makes the 53 or the practice squad, I’ll buy his jersey and wear it proudly.

    Good luck to Brian- go forth and earn your spot, bro. The NFL needs character MEN like you. Best of luck (although I wish you very limited success against my Saints).

    Who Dat!

  32. junebugz78 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:01 PM

    ” I don’t see any reason why the NFL couldn’t put together some kind of developmental league for guys like Banks.”

    Sadly, not sure they would have enough for a league if that was the requirement.

  33. mike5011ad says: Aug 9, 2013 1:11 PM

    Am I missing something? All these quotes from the bible and talk about this guy like he saved burning babies from buildings? Banks got caught having sex with a 15 year old in a school stairwell and got wrongfully accused of raping her. Is he being a bigger person for saying that he wants to put it in his past? sure. Is he a national hero or someone you want to point out to your kids on how to live their lives? probably not. Lets pull back all the hero talk about him.

  34. taintedlombardis says: Aug 9, 2013 1:12 PM

    Mark this wise sage down as a Brian Banks cheerleader. I hope he not only makes the team, but can develop into a bonafide superstar.

  35. harryspudder says: Aug 9, 2013 1:15 PM

    He’s probably not going to be good enough to make the team but put him on the practice squad…

  36. wesleyt4 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:16 PM

    If he doesn’t reach his dream of playing, the Falcons or any of the other 31 teams would be wise to give this guy some sort of position with the organization. Be it coaching, player personnel, whatever it may be. His story is amazing and inspirational to say the least.

  37. speters0630 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:20 PM

    @andrejohnsonforpresident

    The NFL does have a D-League. It’s college football.
    ____________________________________

    Uh Dude, the man was in PRISON for something he didn’t do… NCAA Football was NOT an option, thats the point.

  38. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:44 PM

    This is a very human story as opposed to just a football one. I think everyone no matter what team they’re a fan of can root for Banks to make it, to the practice squad at least even if not on the 53 man roster.

    He had a wonderful moment last night living out his biggest dream. Here’s hoping he gets a lot more !

  39. CKL says: Aug 9, 2013 2:00 PM

    mike5011ad says:
    Aug 9, 2013 1:11 PM
    Am I missing something? All these quotes from the bible and talk about this guy like he saved burning babies from buildings? Banks got caught having sex with a 15 year old in a school stairwell and got wrongfully accused of raping her. Is he being a bigger person for saying that he wants to put it in his past? sure. Is he a national hero or someone you want to point out to your kids on how to live their lives? probably not. Lets pull back all the hero talk about him.
    _________________________________
    Let me guess and tell me if I am wrong. If a 21 year old cheerleader were having sex with a 15 year old boy, you’d be giving him a thumbs up for his score. Should 15 YO be having sex? No, but it’s not like Banks is LT or something. He was close in age and it was obviously consensual even if she wasn’t the age of consent.

    This young man has been able to forgive something that there’s no way I’d ever be able to. That alone is worthy of my respect and admiration. If you don’t feel that way, fine that’s your right. But I don’t consider him a child predator as you seem to.

  40. fdugrad says: Aug 9, 2013 2:17 PM

    Remarkable story. I hope someone buys the movie rights.

  41. nananatman says: Aug 9, 2013 2:46 PM

    I’d put him on my team just for attitude, tenacity and spirit.

  42. asimonetti88 says: Aug 9, 2013 2:59 PM

    mike5011ad says:
    Aug 9, 2013 1:11 PM
    Am I missing something? All these quotes from the bible and talk about this guy like he saved burning babies from buildings? Banks got caught having sex with a 15 year old in a school stairwell and got wrongfully accused of raping her. Is he being a bigger person for saying that he wants to put it in his past? sure. Is he a national hero or someone you want to point out to your kids on how to live their lives? probably not. Lets pull back all the hero talk about him.
    _________________________________

    Banks was barely 17 at the time. They were in the same year in school.

  43. mike5011ad says: Aug 9, 2013 3:21 PM

    I don’t think he’s a child predator or anything. I don’t think, though, that he put himself in a good situation by having sex in the school corridors. That’s actually highly illegal and I wouldn’t want my daughter, who is supposed to feel safe in school, walking in on some football jock going to town on one of her classmate while she was trying to just go to the bathroom. Did he deserve to be accused of rape? Absolutely not. That doesn’t mean he deserves to be hailed as a hero. Good for him for trying to stay positive, but don’t confuse him for a martyr. I think he would even admit to such.

  44. titansbro says: Aug 9, 2013 3:41 PM

    This guy is the real deal. Maybe the time off killed him game, but bringing him in would have to provide similar results to bringing in a has-been for that “veteran presence.” I’d give him a spot in ST just to keep his attitude around & I’d make him a captain.

  45. ldloudin says: Aug 10, 2013 11:50 AM

    If BB doesn’t make a 53 man roster this year I would hope that some team offers him a scouting or front office position- he’s displayed exemplary character since his exoneration & deserves an opportunity on or off the field.

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