Brian Banks, exonerated in rape case, cut from Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks (53) sits on the bench during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Atlanta. Banks announced Friday that he was no longer on the team.
(Dave Martin / Associated Press)

The dream of playing in this year’s regular season of the NFL ended Friday for Brian Banks, a standout football player from Long Beach Polytechnic, who spent five years in prison before his rape conviction was overturned.

Banks, 27, signed with the Atlanta Falcons this spring as a linebacker but tweeted Friday afternoon that “as most have heard, my time with the Atlanta Falcons have come to an early end.”

“This experience has shown me a piece of life that was once taken, and where things (football wise) would have been if it wasn’t for the 10 years of life loss,” he wrote.

That loss of life started in 2002 when a classmate accused Banks of rape. Banks at the time was a standout athlete attracting attention from some of the nation’s top programs.

He pleaded no contest to charges of kidnapping and rape and spent five years in prison. He spent another five years on parole.


But Banks met with his accuser in 2011, and she admitted to lying about the alleged rape in a conversation that was taped by Banks and a private investigator, a move that began the path for exoneration.

Banks’ story has reverberated across the country, and last year he was invited to try out for multiple NFL teams.

It is unclear what Banks’ next move will be and whether he will continue to try to make the starting roster of an NFL team some day.

Times staff writer Matt Stevens contributed to this post.


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