bill-swift - September 20, 2012
Remember Brian Banks? During the summer the former high school linebacker's story was all over the web and TV. Convicted of a rape that he did not commit, Banks served five years in prison and another five on probation before he was finally able to clear his name after recording his accuser stating several times that no rape ever occurred.
Free of the stigma that follows a convicted sex offender, Banks expressed a desire to get a shot at the big time once again. Back in the day he was good enough to be recruited by Pete Carroll to the USC Trojans so at one time he had to have serious game. Why not give him a chance now, right?
A handful of teams were more than happy to give him a workout. Carroll, now with the Seattle Seahawks, was the only one to call him back for another. However, when all was said and done there wasn't a single team that was willing to give him an invite to training camp.
Carroll essentially said that while he looked good he wasn't quite in NFL shape. Eventually training camp came and went and the feel good story of the summer appeared like it was not going to get its happy ending, a shot at an NFL roster.
Then the unexpected happened. The UFL lived.
For months it appeared as if the latest attempt at an alternate professional football league, the United Football League, was a corpse. Some of the team offices had been cleared out. Coaches took other jobs. The website was never completely shut down, but no one had updated it for sometime.
Out of the blue the UFL announces that it is going to be back for another season of action with four teams competing in an eight-week schedule. On the roster for the 2010 UFL Champion Las Vegas Locomotives will be one Brian Banks.
It may not be the NFL, but it is professional football. Should he play well enough and get in 'NFL shape' like Carroll said he could get another shot at an NFL roster this season.
It would be easy to say that he's been cheated and that this ending is not happy at all; that he is trying to relive a life that is long gone. Had he been able to go to college there is a chance that he would have found himself headed to the NFL, but life handed him a pretty raw deal and the UFL is more of a booby prize then anything else.
Ask him though and I'd bet that he responds with a big smile and nary a single complaint as he says," Hey, man--life is good. I'm playing football!"
At the age of 26 he still has plenty of good football years left in him. Who knows; this story could still end in the NFL after all.