The Minnesota Vikings are among the teams that hope to give linebacker Brian Banks a tryout, according to Banks' attorney.
If you haven't been following Banks' story, it really is a fascinating one. In high school, Banks was a highly-recruited linebacker prospect, and accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Southern California in 2002. However, when he was 17, a girl that he had known since childhood told police that Banks had raped her, and he was subsequently arrested.
On the advice of counsel, Banks pled no contest to the rape charge in order to avoid a potential life sentence had he been tried by a jury. He spent a little more than five years in prison, and then spent another five years on probation, having to wear a monitoring bracelet on his ankle. Last year, he had conversations with the girl that accused him. . .conversations that Banks recorded. . .in which she admitted that the charges were completely bogus. She wouldn't talk directly to prosecutors because she had sued the school district for "not providing protection" for her, and won a $1.5 million judgement as a result.
Armed with the recordings, the case was brought back to the judge that originally sentenced Banks, and his name was completely cleared of any wrongdoing.
Now 26 years old, Banks is finally getting his opportunity to try out for NFL teams. He was in Seattle with the Seahawks this past week, where he measured in at 6'2", 240 pounds, and still ran a 40-yard dash in under 4.7 seconds, according to reports. He has played one season of football in the last decade, playing for Long Beach Community College after being released from prison in 2007. The next year, however, the state of California required all sex offenders. . .which Banks was classified as. . .to wear monitoring bracelets while on parole, effectively eliminating his chance to continue playing football.
I hope that the Vikings at least get the opportunity to bring him in for a look. Even if they don't sign him to a deal, he is a very impressive story, in my opinion, and is at least worthy of a shot.