The story of Brian Banks is one Atlanta Falcons fans may be familiar with, and it’s one that will be shared with the world starting Friday when a movie about his life is released in theaters.
In 2002, Banks, then a 17-year-old football star who had verbally committed to play football for Pete Carroll at the University of Southern California, was wrongfully accused of rape and kidnapping. Instead of fighting those charges in court, which could have resulted in a sentence of 41 years to life, Banks accepted a plea deal that included five years in prison, another five years of probation and being registered as a sex offender.
Close to a decade after Banks was convicted, the woman who accused him of rape and kidnapping recanted her previous statements and admitted to making up the story. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks fought back to clear his name.
On May 24, 2012, a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court reversed Banks’s conviction, removing his designation as a sex offender and once again allowing him to pursue his football dreams.
Banks signed with the Falcons on April 3, 2013. He participated in the team’s training camp practices and made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter of Atlanta’s first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, registering one tackle. Banks remained with the Falcons throughout the 2013 preseason, finishing with four tackles, including one tackle for a loss. He was released during roster cuts prior to the start of the season.
After the 2013 season, Banks was hired to work in the NFL’s Department of Operations, assisting with the league’s new replay center and social media.
With his inspirational story being released in theaters nationwide, here are the best images of former Falcons linebacker Brian Banks.