Brian Banks, a promising high school football player whose career and life were sidetracked in 2002 when he was wrongly convicted of rape, will resume chasing his dream of playing in the NFL on Thursday when he works out for the Seahawks.
Banks was recruited by Pete Carroll when the Seahawks’ coach was at USC, but Carroll said today that Banks’ story is a bigger factor in the team giving him a tryout than their previous relationship.
“He’s a young man that has an opportunity to get a second chance at his dream,” Carroll said. “I just think he deserves it and we’re going to give him a really good look and a serious look, and if he does well and we like him we’re going to try to get him to come to minicamp (next week).”
Banks, 26, served 62 months of his six-year sentence. A judge in Long Beach, Calif., threw out his kidnapping and rape conviction last month after looking at a videotape of his accuser admitting she lied.
A blue-chip recruit as a linebacker out of Long Beach Poly High School also has drawn interest from other NFL teams.
“He may want to go take those trips. I don’t know,” Carroll said. “But we’re going to put him through his paces here and check him out and make sure we have a real good sense for what he can do.
“I’m excited for him. I’ve talked to him a couple of times this week leading up to this. He’s really excited about the opportunity, very serious about it. And I think the way he came across was special for what he’s been through and just gave me more confidence that we’re doing the right thing by giving him this opportunity.”
Making the jump from high school ball to the NFL is difficult enough. Factor in Banks’ situation and, as Carroll said, “This is an enormous jump. It’s against all odds physically that he would be able to get back and be able to compete at this level.
“But it’s a story worth following. We’ll be pulling for him. This may be just the first step along the way of his comeback. Hopefully we can contribute to that in some way.”