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Brian Banks signs with Las Vegas Locomotives 83

Just months after being released from prison, linebacker Brian Banks has broken into the world of professional football. (Credit: Nick Ut/AP Photo)

Brian Banks caught a lot of attention this offseason as he attempted to make a name for himself in the NFL. Although he could not catch on with an NFL roster, Banks has signed with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League today.

It’s been a long wait for Banks to make his return to professional football. For those that are not familiar with Banks’ story, it’s a truly heartwarming one. Banks was a highly sought linebacker recruit in high school, but that all changed when he was convicted of rape at age 16, and was encouraged to take the plea bargain in order to soften the punishments he would face as a sex offender. Just this past summer, however, Banks was exonerated and released from jail 10 years after his accuser came forward and said that she lied about Banks’ involvement with her. 

Banks received tryouts from many NFL teams this offseason, but he garnered the most interest from the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs. Banks will now get to play in Las Vegas under former NFL coach Jim Fassel, who led Kerry Collins and the New York Giants to Super Bowl 35 against the storied 2000 Ravens defense. Upon the signing of Banks, Fassel said that he was pleased to give Banks “an opportunity in football that was denied him years ago.”

Banks is still getting back into game shape after being in jail for more than 5 years, but the UFL will be a great place for him to work into shape and maybe make a run at the NFL again next year. With the kind of character forged from the trials that Banks has gone through over the last 10 years, there is definitely a shot that he will make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.


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