National Football League

Exonerated LB Banks signs with Falcons

by Charles Odum, The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – Brian Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday after the former Southern Cal recruit's football dream was derailed when he was convicted of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago.

The linebacker will participate in Atlanta's offseason workouts with a chance to resume his career. Banks, 27, has been trying to get back into football since he was cleared on May 12, 2012, of a rape conviction.

The Falcons are the first NFL team to sign Banks, but he has had chances with other teams. He took part in the Seattle Seahawks' minicamp last June following workouts with Kansas City and San Diego.

The Falcons have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday with Banks.

Banks was 16 and had a scholarship offer from USC when a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape. He spent five years in jail and five years on probation.

The woman recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. That helped lead to the conviction being overturned by a California court and Banks' record cleared.

Banks has become a spokesman for the California Innocence Project, which works to exonerate the wrongly accused.

Banks is expected to attend when the Falcons hold their first offseason workout on April 22.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



More Sports

High School Softball

Northgate opens busy week with back-to-back wins

Northgate's softball team opened a busy week at home by rolling off consecutive wins over Newnan and Drew over consecutive days. The Lady Vi ... Read More


High School Football

Indians' wait nearly over for season opener, debut under Pardue

The countdown to East Coweta's 2014 season has reached two days, which head coach Steve Pardue promptly reminded his team while raising just ... Read More


Cross Country

Northgate teams win JAG Invitational

Northgate cross-country teams opened the season with respective victories at the JAG Invitational in Spalding County on a steaming hot first ... Read More


High School Football

Scrimmage win gets Vikings off to solid start

On a sheet of paper, scribbled at the bottom of a list of goals for Friday’s scrimmage against Veterans, Northgate head football coach ... Read More


Cross Country

Powell fourth at Mercy Invitational

Heritage School senior Ruthie Powell showed she could compete with athletes from several Georgia High School Association schools on Saturday ... Read More

High School Football

Hawks dealt heartbreaker in loss to Flint River

To call this a wild week for The Heritage School’s football program might be an understatement. The Hawks lost their head coach and qu ... Read More