Exonerated Brian Banks: NFL future with Seahawks unclear
Brian Banks got his pro football shot with the Seattle Seahawks, but there’s no storybook ending just yet for the exonerated rape convict.
In a video from a news conference posted on the team's website, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday that no decision had been made on whether to invite Banks back to the team's fall training camp.
"He exceeded my expectations," Carroll said. "He looked much more comfortable than I thought he would. He's not in good shape yet and he's a ways from that, but I was really surprised that he fit in as well as he did."
After two days at the NFL team’s minicamp, the former Long Beach Poly linebacker who spent five years in jail sent out a tweet updating his status Thursday night:
“No immediate invite back to camp w Seahawks,” he tweeted. “One more tryout w them stands in my way. In the meantime... 49ers mini camp Monday!”
The Times' Sam Farmer reported that Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said Banks did a respectable job in his first day of minicamp on Wednesday, especially for someone who has been away from the game so long.
But Norton also cautioned that “this is the NFL, the best of the best. So it's going to be really tough for him.”
Even if Banks is not picked up by the Seahawks, he has already made trips to San Diego and Kansas City and will report to San Francisco on Monday.
“Headed home!!” Banks tweeted later Thursday. “It's been a non stop 21 day run of interviews, workouts, tryouts, flights, and 2 days of mini camp.”
Banks has drawn national attention in recent weeks after a Los Angeles judge overturned his conviction, ending a decade of turmoil that began in 2002 when a classmate accused Banks of rape.
At the time, the 17-year-old middle linebacker was drawing attention from USC, UCLA and other schools, he said, even though he was just a junior.
He pleaded no contest to charges of kidnapping and rape, spent five years in prison and another five on parole.
Banks met with his accuser last year after the woman reached out to him on Facebook. She admitted she had lied about the rape in a conversation that was taped by Banks and a private investigator, setting the wheels in motion for Banks' exoneration.
Banks was in Kansas City on Tuesday for a private workout with the Chiefs but did not attend a minicamp practice, according to an item on the team's website. He then flew to Seattle to begin minicamp practice with the Seahawks the next day.
Banks said he is grateful for every opportunity. He said that more than one Seattle player approached him Wednesday to say hello.
“I didn’t want to bombard anybody,” Banks said. “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.”
-- Matt Stevens and Kate Mather
Photo: Brian Banks works out with the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press