You're all familiar with Brian Banks' story by now. I've personally had a cry fest or two (or ten) when thinking about how far he's come. No really. I'm serious.
A one-time University of Southern California recruit, he was falsely accused of rape, then spent time in prison before his eventual exoneration in May of 2012. He tried out with the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Chargers to no avail, then he inked a contract with the Falcons this off-season.
We all had high hopes for Banks. He's got one heck of a story. But was the skill set there? We'd hoped it was, and the early reports out of mini-camp/OTAs had us cautiously optimistic. Then came the first preseason game. When the coaching staff held him out until the tail end of the fourth quarter, I had a sinking feeling. I knew he wasn't ready. As I watched Paul Worrilow devour ball carriers like Dave devours ho hos after a Boone's Farm bender, Banks' fate became evident. He's got the work ethic, he's got the charisma, but it's too little too late.
If you're Banks, it'd be hard to avoid sheer, unadulterated anger. You were a top notch prospect, a bright future ahead. Then a classmate told a lie. And that lie forever changed the course of your life. You sat in prison for years. After your release from prison, you endured community supervision. Your probation agent and everyone in the community considered you a sex offender. But if you read his blog, that's just not the case. He's a highly intelligent, thoughtful man. He's endured something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And yet he's not bitter. He's just grateful for the opportunity. And, as karma would dictate, it sounds like there's more opportunity on his horizon.
It's still possible that the linebacker could land on the club's practice squad. FoxSports reported that Falcons owner Arthur Blank was so impressed with Banks that he's trying to find him a career opportunity in Atlanta around the team.
To be frank, I'd be surprised to see him even make the practice squad. Sure, a season on the practice squad would help him develop, but at 27 years old, the team would really need to believe in his potential. They'd probably have to see him as a long-term potential asset. Given the lack of playing time he was afforded during the preseason, I don't honestly believe they think he has it. He may have at one point, but he doesn't now.
But alas, if he isn't afforded a spot on the practice squad, Uncle Arthur may have something up his sleeve. I'd be absolutely thrilled if the Falcons give him some sort of front office gig. It'd be directly in line with what we've come to expect from this franchise. It's not a spot on the 53 man roster or practice squad, but it's something. On some level, Banks has already achieved his dream by hanging around this long. He survived the first round of cuts, and I'm sure he'd be eternally grateful for a chance to work in the front office.
If you're reading this Banks, thanks for being such an inspiration. You gave it your all, and we appreciate that.