Baltimore Ravens Coach Brian Billick said today he did not consider releasing quarterback Tony Banks before the season, but Banks said he and Billick did discuss the possibility.
Billick "gave me that option to see if I wanted to go somewhere else, which was a surprise to me," said Banks, who began the season as the third-string quarterback. "But I didn't come here to give up. I knew I was going to get an opportunity here. If not here, I could still use the season to get better. I knew there were other teams out there that wanted my services."
Asked if he had wanted to release Banks before the season, Billick said: "I had no intention of releasing Tony Banks whatsoever. The topic never came up."
Billick later clarified his remarks, saying he did present Banks with the chance to be released if he would be unhappy as third string. Billick said he did not want to trade or release Banks at that time.
Billick and Banks were responding to questions prompted by an ESPN report that Billick moved Banks to the third string because the quarterback left his jersey untucked at the end of a preseason game. The report stated that Banks rejected Billick's offer to release him.
Banks became the starting quarterback after Scott Mitchell and second stringer Stoney Case faltered this season.
Banks did remember the jersey incident.
"It was me and a couple guys," he said. "I was comfortable after I was out of the game. I've heard it. I haven't actually heard it from [Billick], but I know he's a stickler for things like that. I don't think that was the leading factor" in making him third string.