Former prep football star Brian Banks’ dream of playing in the NFL was nearly lost for good when he was false rape and kidnapping convictions landed him in prison in 2002.
Now, after his recent exoneration, that dream is alive once more.
The Seattle Seahawks invited the former USC linebacker commit to an open tryout during next week’s minicamp. Banks has not accepted the invitation yet, however, as he and his agent determine whether the Seahawks are his best option to land a roster spot, as reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press.
“I feel more appreciative of the opportunity than I feel deserving,” Banks told reporters outside the team’s facility.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who coached the Trojans from 2001 to ‘09, said in a statement released by the team that Banks deserves a “second chance at his dream.”
Banks had already served a five-year prison sentence and was out on parole when his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, finally admitted she had lied when she accused Banks of kidnapping and raping her when she was 15. Gibson was awarded a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools and admitted that she hesitated to reveal the truth for fear of losing the settlement.
“Regardless of how it turns out, it’s the fact that he’s made it to this point and he’s going to get this opportunity, I hope it helps other people,” Carroll told the Seattle Times. “That’s an emotional exchange, it’s worth passing along.”