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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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

Northgate leads All-Region cheerleading squad

Northgate’s competitive cheerleading squad led this year’s All-Region 4-AAAAA team with eight selections. Earning honors for the ... Read More


High School Wrestling

No clear favorite in county championships

Predicting the outcome of tonight's Coweta County Wrestling Championships isn't an exact science. Between defending champion East Coweta, a ... Read More


Northgate, ECHS finish among top 5

Northgate and East Coweta swim teams each finished among the top-five at last weekend's Toys for Tots Invitational in Troup County among a f ... Read More


American Open Weightlifting

Newnan's Sydney Goad sets national records

With an already lengthy list of national records, Sydney Goad may have raised the bar higher than even she imagined on Friday at this year&r ... Read More


High School Basketball

Lady Indians stay on target, pick up second straight win

East Coweta's girls basketball team posed two arguments to Region 3-AAAAA opponents during Friday's 48-31 win over South Cobb at John Throwe ... Read More

College Football

UWG faces CSU-Pueblo in first trip to Division II semifinals

The last time West Georgia's football program played in a game as significant as tonight's national Division II semifinal, a personal comput ... Read More