Will someone please sign Brian Banks?


The feel-good story of the 2012 has yet to become anything more than a fairly hollow P.R. stunt.

Cleared in May of serious crimes he didn’t commit — but for which he wrongfully spent five years in prison — linebacker Brian Banks has received a handful of tryouts, from Seattle, San Diego, and Kansas City.  (Minnesota and Washington remain interested.)  Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who had offered Banks a scholarship to USC before false charges of kidnapping and rape resulted in the implosion of his football career, invited Bank to participate in two days of a mandatory minicamp.

Still, no one has given him a spot on the 90-man roster.

That’s NINETY.  As in 10 more than in past years.  As in there’s a spot available to give this guy a chance to get back into shape and show what he can do.

Less than a month ago, he was still on probation, nearly a decade after his football days had ended.  Of course he’s not going to show much in a one-shot tryout.  Or in two days in T-shirts and shorts.

So why not give the guy a roster spot and see what he can do?  Carroll, who possibly felt that he owed the kid a glorified trip to fantasy camp, apparently has opted not to give Banks a job, signing a different linebacker who participated in the three-day minicamp on a tryout basis.

Quit humoring the kid.  He needs some time to get in shape, and he needs some time to begin reaching his potential.  He needs more than a tryout; he needs a real chance over a period of weeks to show what he can do.

Given what he’s been through, why won’t someone give him something more than a passing glance?

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61 responses to “Will someone please sign Brian Banks?

  1. Unfortunately, football isn’t about feel good stories. I’m sure he was a great talent, but without playing his senior year in high school, four years of college ball, and everything that goes with it, I just don’t see him turning into a NFL player.

  2. I think Minnesota may give him a real shot, not for starting year one obviously, maybe not year two but definitely to be a special teams contributor. The guy deserves that at the very least, hell even a practice squad addition would be good for him.

    I for one hope he gets a shot somewhere. He seems like a great young man.

  3. Someone will, give it a little time. I wouldn’t doubt that the hawks would have offered up a spot, but lets be realistic, their mini camp is over, and they can’t do any more work until July 27th. Brian is heading down to San Fran to work with the 9rs.. I think Brian is just going to jump around as best he can until everyone is done with mini camps, and then someone will put him on the 90 for training camp. Thats the best deal for him to get as much work in as he can prior to training camp.

    you can ‘bank’ on it

  4. Something amazing happened today. In a rare Freezing-over-of-Hell occurance, I agree with Mike 100%.

    It’s not saying give the guy a contract without prooving himself. It’s saying give him a REAL shot!

    Leslie is a smart man, and he knows linebackers somewhat, having been a part of and having built some of the toughest defenses in NFL history.

    Leslie I’m a Vikings fan and I’ve been a fan of yours since your first year with us. Please give this man a real shot!

  5. You can’t give him a roster spot out of pity, Florio. This is the NFL. Let him develop in the arena leagues or Canada. Really hope things turn out well for him, though.

  6. Being that he spent his eligibility being falsely imprisoned and on probation should the NCAA offer him extra eligibility? Play a year or two at the college level to start getting his education, should football never work out, and it’d some time to shake off the rust.

  7. I recommend he look into going to college for a year or two (or four!). Brandon Weeden went to school after a 5 year stint in a different kind of prison (MLB). He’ll be old when he comes out, but a great education, paid for by scholarship, will put his life back on track, NFL career or no.

  8. Brian has been through an upspeakably horrible event in his life. His ‘accuser’ should go to jail and rot there. But several of the comments here have it right.
    1. What are the odds of a high schooler recruited by a major football program actually making it to the NFL? Not really very high. So was a lock to be in the NFL taken from him? No.
    2. To the extent that college football serves as the minor leagues so to speak for the NFL, he never went.
    3. It’s a cruel world. What is ‘fair’ doesn’t really happen all that often.

    So to give him a roster spot along with under 3000 others, when he hasn’t played competitive football for so long would not be appropriate.

    It would make a wonderful feel-good story for him to make it to the NFL. But a more appropriate path would be maybe more like Kurt Warners than just giving him a slot.

    On the other hand, the Dolphins are working to get publicity, maybe they should sign him. For football reasons, just like Hard Knocks.

  9. Giants, why not? Their starters are in flux and have always prided themselves on their rotation. He could could turn out to be the next James Harrison, he didn’t exactly know what he was doing in his early years.

  10. Why? This is the NFL not government handouts. Obviously he’s not good enough. Since you want the NFL to hire him. How about you hire him for a job he’s not qualified for and pay him.

  11. I hate what happened to him. But several blue chip prospects have went to college and flamed out, so what makes him more qualified then the countless other players that haven’t gotten a shot in the NFL? Seeing as though he hasn’t played in 10 years, never mind the fact he never played in a college game, I think it can be argued that he is getting more then enough chances. Maybe they do need to “Quit humoring the kid” and stop giving him tryouts. Let him earn his way in some secondary league or walk on at some college for a year (if deemed eligible). The NFL doesn’t seem like the place for him to be trying to get his life back together after the BS that happened to him. Saying all that, I would surely like to see him make it some how.

  12. This is why I shook my head when the “feel good story” was announced. All it was doing was getting Banks’ hopes up for a PR opportunity for the team. Carroll knew it would make headlines when he brought Banks to camp but giving him the boot probably wouldn’t, so it was a safe move.

  13. he actually never received anything more than a standard recruiting letter from USC. he also played a year at the JC level and didn’t wow anyone. the facts on this whole story regarding his football ability as far off base.

  14. Didn’t the Browns new QB just graduate college at 28 and get picked up?

    The arena league or CFL should have no problem taking the kid in but I think college would probably be a better option for him.

  15. Forget my last comment. Just realized that once he picked up an agent he killed any chance of him being college eligible so Canada or Arena League will probably be his only options till he gets back in football shape.

  16. The story is a very sad one, and I can’t help but feeling for the guy. Still, giving him a roster spot as a charity gesture (no matter how many spots are available) means NOT giving the spot to someone else who may be less well known, but is still a man with a dream. To take that dream away from a guy who may not make the final cut, but is clearly better on the field than Banks would be a crime as well. Sure, not as much of a crime as falsely accusing him of rape, but still an injustice. Banks, of all people, should understand that a pity gesture that deprives another man of his dream is not the way he would want to get the opportunity. Yes, he deserves a chance, but he has to use that chance (no matter how small) to prove he’s worth the risk. It looks like he hasn’t. Maybe it’s time to move on?

  17. False imprisonment doesn’t entitle you to an NFL contract.

    I feel for the guy, but he hasn’t played football in what, five years? No way he’s ready to play in the pros.

    I wouldn’t rule him out forever, but at this point, it doesn’t make sense to sign him to an NFL team. Let him go play in Canada or the AFL and bring him in for another tryout next year.

    No wonder athletes are so spoiled. People seem to think they should be handed everything.

  18. @nickwillis99 has the best idea. If he fails to land an NFL gig, go to Canada and get in the football shape that you say he needs to get into. Redemption doesn’t have to be instantanious. He can slug his way back. “Giving” him a roster spot is unfair to the competitor who beats him.

  19. This is the NFL, which means not for long. Today’s feel-good story is tomorrow’s honorable mention on the NFL Network’s Top 10 flavors of the moment.

  20. RG3 makes dreams come true. All Banks has to do is call RG3 and RG3 will tell Chief M.Shanahan and wah-lah. Banks is a member of the Washington Redskins, home to the greatest QB in football.

  21. I tip my hat first of all to those on this Blog who, time and again, show their hearts and heads are in a good place.

    @seahawk55: I can only hope that the scenarios you outlined come into play for this kid. True he was dealt one very funky hand, but as you point out, he will need much more than just spending quality time on a roster. This young man has missed an awful, awful lot of very necessary training and experience.

  22. For those of you saying “football isn’t about feel good stories” and “You can’t give him a roster spot out of pity, Florio,” how do you explain the Buccaneers’ signing of Eric Legrand?

    The signing of Legrand (and the potential signing of Banks) can have a significant positive effect on the locker room, and how a fan base mobilizes behind a team.

    I’m not saying the Bucs SHOULD have signed Legrand, or that anyone else SHOULD sign Banks, but there is definitely room to do it, and Florio is right–this isn’t about how he performs on the spot, with the ankle bracelet freshly removed. It’s about how he can develop.

  23. Somewhere in 32 cities across the US, 1 player in each city is wondering why their lifetime of hard work and dedication to their sport is no longer good enough for their shot at the NFL dream.

  24. Maybe he’s not that good, Mike. The guy’s got a sad story, and was done a serious injustice. A lot of people are treated unjustly. That doesn’t mean they somehow deserve to play in the National Football League.

  25. as much as i would like to agree with this post, i just can’t. these coaches aren’t playing tiddly winks. you give a player a spot because you think he has a chance to make your team, not because the guy deserves it or because it will be a feel-good story. that said – i do love a feel-good story and i hope banks gets in shape and makes it someday.

  26. Yeah somebody should give him a roster spot….

    I mean hell, it’s not my money right?

    Feel good stories and running a multi million dollar business are two different things

  27. I agree with the NCAA allowing him a 2 year scholarship. This is obviously a unique incident, and I feel he should at least get a chance at what he missed initially: A scholarship. Even if he has to play at Abilene Christian or Appalachian State, this would at least let him get his mind right (education) and help his conditioning.

  28. This was an unfortunate set of circumstances for Brian Banks. I can’t imagine going through what he did. That being said I feel he should be given a fair opportunity to compete for a roster spot, not given a spot. He hasn’t played football in 10 years, didn’t complete High School, didn’t play 1 down in College and you want an NFL Team to give him a roster spot? He was given a fair opportunity to make a team and apparently wasn’t good enough. If he can earn his way on a team great, but he should not be given a spot. That would be wellfare, too much of that in this country already.

  29. He would be a 25 year-old rookie after not playing for 5+ years. By the time he shakes the rust off (practice squad) he’ll be 27.

    He got screwed over by his lawyer. He deserves to get his life back in order. He doesn’t deserve a roster spot.

    That would be like giving Brandon Burlsworth’s brother or friend his roster spot after he got drafted and then died in an auto accident.

    The NFL isn’t about charity cases.

  30. Look, I feel for the kid. I didn’t spend the last five years of my life in jail wrongly accused. It would be great if I could secure an opportunity to compete for a job in my chosen field.

    But guess what, Florio? No one is giving me “a roster spot” to see what I can do!! All potential employers I’ve spoken with want a proven veteran; someone with experience who’s familiar with the business scheme. Times truly ARE tough.

    God speed, Brian Banks. I hope we both catch that break.

  31. I would love to see the 49ers take a flyer on him. At least onto the practice squad. He would have a real good trio in Willis, Bowman, and Grant to mentor him too. With enough time and coaching you never know when you can find the next Kurt Warner off the streets.

  32. Honestly, why don’t the Eagles give him a shot? Their roster is at 89 right now, have a slew of terrible linebackers behind Ryans and Kendricks, and are known to give people who rightfully went to prison a chance at rehabilitation. Why not someone who did time but not a crime? What is there to lose?

  33. It’s the NFL not a Lifetime movie. If these teams thought he could help them win, then they would sign him.

  34. For every signing there is a cut. This is a feel good story and I hope he has the ability to make a roster. I would love to see Florio explain to the person who is cut that Banks deserves a shot, even if he is not quite in the proper shape.

    Do not jump on the latest feel good story and thing that there are no downsides. I wish Banks the best, but I don’t think he should get a roster spot because of his story. If he earns it then I have no problem.

  35. What makes me sad is tht this happened during the Bush years, which countless young African-Americans were put in jail so Republican benefactors like Halliburton could get fat private prison contracts. Under Obama, this would have never happened and he would likely have been a two-time Pro Bowler by now.

  36. Very sad story. Life can be unfair. Hopefully, if he does not catch on with an NFL team, this season, he can play with my Alouettes in the CFL. Hopefully that will get him in football shape, so he can help my Jets repeat as super bowl champs next year!

  37. hulkhogansays says:Jun 15, 2012 8:43 PM

    RG3 makes dreams come true. All Banks has to do is call RG3 and RG3 will tell Chief M.Shanahan and wah-lah. Banks is a member of the Washington Redskins, home to the greatest QB in football.

    First off, RG3 is more advertisement than product. (shamwow) it’ all hype off the flamboyant socks, good play in a mediocre college conference, and, let’s face it, with andrew luck coming out in 2012, as by far the best prospect in many years, the media/nfl needed a #2 qb to overrate to keep the top 3 in the draft interesting.

    Secondly, check shannys record in denver on the players with “questionable pasts” category. (javon walker, darryl gardner, dale carter, maurice clarett, etc.) shanahan isn’t the front office guru he’s made out to be.

    also, that “home to the greatest QB in football” comment is just a clown comment, bro.

  38. Maybe this site should hire him, and then explain to the cut staff member that Banks needs a job regardless of his qualifications.

  39. Contrary to the precedent set by the Dog Killer in Philthydelphia, feel good stories are no owed any slot on a pro football team at this level of play. If Brian wants to play football, let him get the rust off and play for an Arena team or go to Canada where not-ready-for-prime-time players flee to make a name for themselves.

    His story may be compelling, but if he isn’t NFL material, no amount of whining will make him NFL caliber.

  40. I really hate to say this (I’m rooting for the guy) but the reason no one is signing him is because he’s probably not good enough or coaches don’t see any upside. If he was, he’d be signed by now. Man, I’m rooting for him I am… just keeping it real. It’s a business and part of that business is putting the best available talent on the field. Feel good stories are nice and this story would be even better if the kid was really good. The Chiefs say his workout was “decent” but “decent” doesn’t make NFL rosters. Maybe some team will sign him to a practice team and try and develop him. I hope he makes it somewhere. Good luck Brian!

  41. Brian should go play in the CFL for a year. If he plays well he MIGHT earn another look next year.

  42. even if an NFL team doesnt end up signing him, even to a practice squad, he could try the CFL, or arena league and work his way back to NFL shape…if the talent is there it will show…I hope he does make it…

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