The Kansas City Chiefs are taking a look at former high school standout linebacker Brian Banks this week, according to ESPN.
Only Banks never played a game of college football.
He couldn’t. He was in jail, convicted of kidnapping and rape.
In 2002, Banks already had a full-ride scholarship to USC at 16. One day, he went behind the stairwell at school to make out with a girl named Wanetta Gibson. Gibson later accused Banks of kidnapping her and raping her. The young man was advised by his attorney to take a plea. The attorney thought that Banks’ race and size would practically guarantee a guilty verdict. Never mind that there were no witnesses and no DNA evidence that Banks had ever slept with Gibson.
Banks did 62 months in jail and was forced to register as a convicted sex offender. His life was permanently stained.
Until last year when Banks received a Facebook friend request from Gibson, saying that she wanted to become friends again.
Banks hired a private detective and agreed to meet with Gibson. He recorded the conversation where Gibson admitted that Banks never kidnapped her. Never raped her.
Banks was able to get everything overturned, and his name is now cleared.
Training since October, Banks is now pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL. He will work out for a handful of teams including the Seahawks*, Redskins, Dolphins and Chiefs.
*Seahawks head coach Pete Carrol was at USC when the school gave Banks a full scholarship.
There is no telling if Banks will catch on with an NFL team. He’s got the size and athleticism of an NFL player but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to play in the NFL, especially after being away from football for so long.
But I’m willing to bet there sure are a lot of people rooting for him.