Banks, who served five years in prison and an additional five years on parole for a rape he did not commit, says he is not sure whether or not he will accept the offer because he needs to consult with his agent.
The California Innocence Project says that six other NFL teams have expressed an interest in Banks. Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Seahawks, says that Banks certainly earned a chance to realize his NFL dream.
“He deserved a chance. Given other circumstances he would have earned it in front of our eyes, but this is a guy who just deserved it,” Carroll said.
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Banks has a special relationship with Carroll from his days as head coach of the University of Southern California’s football team. Carroll recruited Banks as a middle linebacker from Long Beach Poly High School and offered him a scholarship. But his college football dreams were cut short when a girl falsely accused him of rape and kidnapping after they made out in a school stairwell when he was 17. Facing more than 40 years in prison, his lawyer urged him to take a plea of six years. He reluctantly accepted the plea and served five years.
But last year, after he was released from prison, the woman who accused him of rape friended him on Facebook asking, “let’s let bygones be bygones.” Banks hired a private investigator who arranged a meeting between himself, Banks and the woman soon after. In a hidden camera interview, the woman admitted that she lied about the allegations. Two weeks ago, Banks conviction was overturned during a court hearing.
Banks says the past few weeks have been a “breeze” compared to the five years he spent in prison. He told reporters after his successful tryout that he was very grateful for the opportunity.
“I feel more appreciative for the opportunity than I feel deserving,” Banks said.