Brian Banks (pictured), the high school football prodigy whose career was derailed by false rape accusations, has finally succeeded in achieving his NFL dreams: the Atlanta Falcons have signed him to a contract.
RELATED: YES! Brian Banks Signs With Pro Team
“The kid will get a second chance that he deserves,” a team official told ESPN.com. Banks will participate in the team’s offseason workouts.
While a student at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, Calif., a female acquaintance accused Banks of sexual assault. He was charged with rape and kidnapping, agreeing to a plea deal that put him in prison for five years. The California Innocence Project, a law school program, helped exonerate him after the women recanted her claims in a staged video sting.
Watch a video about Banks’ journey:
After his release, the 27-year-old resumed following his NFL dreams. He received tryouts with the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs last year. Eventually, Banks signed with the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives and played in two games before the UFL suspended its season in October.
Through it all, Banks has achieved his ultimate goal: becoming an NFL player.
“We are pleased to have Brian join our team,” said Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. “We had a chance to work him out last year and have been monitoring his progress since then. He has worked extremely hard for this chance over the last year and he has shown us that he is prepared for this opportunity. We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL and we look forward to seeing him on the field.”
Congrats again, Brian!