After a decade of suffering for a crime he didn't commit, Brian Banks will try to live his NFL dream. (AP)
Based on what we now know, it's pretty easy to create an alternate universe in which former high school star linebacker Brian Banks goes to a major college, becomes a stud at the NCAA level, and then goes on to make a pretty serious dent in the NFL. Of course, none of that ever happened, because when Banks was 16 years old, he was accused and then convicted of a rape he didn't commit.
He spent five years in prison after pleading no contest to the charge, and spent five more years on probation. It wasn't until last year, when the woman who accused him of the crime requested that he become her friend on Facebook, that Banks had his way to exoneration. Banks agreed to meet with his false accuser, got her recorded admission that the charges were not real, and finally saw all charges dropped and his freedom regained last week.
Now, it seems that several NFL teams want to give Banks the shot he never had before. On Wednesday, the Seattle Seahawks confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that they will bring Banks in for a workout on June 7, and at least three other teams -- the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN.com -- are looking to bring Banks in to see what he might have in the tank.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is very familiar with Banks -- back in 2001 and 2002, when Carroll was USC's head coach, he was recruiting the former Long Beach Polytechnic High star, as were Ohio State, the University of Michigan and several other schools, and Banks verbally agreed to attend USC. Carroll was not available to speak about Banks after Wednesday's organized team activity, but given his propensity for second chances, there's no doubt that seeing what Banks can do would be incredibly appealing.
Banks, who has been working out six days a week in preparation, just wants a chance. "Let me show you what I can produce," Banks recently told the "Today" show when asked about his NFL dreams. "I think that any team that gives me an opportunity will be really impressed with what I can do."
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What a story it would be. The real question is, what would Banks have to do to show that he could compete at the NFL level? Having never played in college, and having missed a decade of real football experience, we're talking about the long shot of all long shots here.
Banks' legal advocate, Justin Brooks, believes that his client will surprise.
"He has the speed and the strength. He certainly has the heart," Brooks recently said. "I hope he gets the attention of people in the sports world."
Yahoo! Sports has learned that Banks will work with NFL trainer Travelle Gaines through the month of June, and that will be a serious test for the Comeback Kid. Gaines does offseason work with some of the NFL's and NCAA's biggest stars, and Banks will be able to test his mettle against Pro Bowl talent soon enough.
"It's been a struggle. But I'm unbroken, and I'm still here today," Banks said upon his exoneration. No matter your team affiliation, it's just about impossible not to root for him.
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