RENTON, WASH. -- Brian Banks is living a childhood dream (and probably a Hollywood screenplay), but he faces long odds of garnering an invitation to training camp from the Seattle Seahawks.
Banks, the former Long Beach Poly linebacker who spent five years in jail after being falsely accused of rape, participated in Seahawks minicamp Wednesday and plans to do so Thursday. If the team doesn’t sign him to a deal that assures him of a spot in training camp, he will fly to Minnesota later Thursday to work out for the Vikings. Already, he has made trips to San Diego and Kansas City to audition for those teams.
Ken Norton Jr., Seahawks linebackers coach, said Banks did a respectable job Wednesday, especially for someone who has been away from the game so long.
But Norton added: “This is the NFL, the best of the best. So it’s going to be really tough for him. Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, got to give him a plus for that. But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years so it’s going to be really, really tough.”
Seahawks players didn’t wear pads -- hitting isn’t allowed at this point of the year -- but they did wear helmets, something Banks hasn’t done since his brief stint at Long Beach City College five years ago.
“But it feels like yesterday,” he said.
“For me personally, I feel like football is like riding a bike. Once you play it and you have somewhat of an understanding you kind of hold on to that regardless of the time that you take off. It’s just about getting your body back adjusted to it. I feel like that year that I spent at Long Beach City College playing was just a good feel for having pads back on, having contact and just getting that feel of the game.”
Banks said more than one Seattle player approached him Wednesday to say hello.
"There are some really great guys on the team who took time out of their day to come and introduce themselves, and I introduced myself,” he said. “They expressed to me that they feel for what I’ve been through.
“But for me I’m more honored and appreciative to meet them, so I didn’t want to bombard anybody. I just kind of wanted to, when the time was right, ‘Hey, how you doing? I’m Brian Banks and I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.’ I think that’s what’s really most important.”