NFL tryout for man cleared in made-up rape
(CBS News) SEATTLE -- There's a new chapter in the extraordinary story of Brian Banks.
After being wrongfully imprisoned for years for a rape that never happened, he's finally getting a chance to make the National Football League.
He served five years behind bars, but is getting the second chance of a lifetime.
Randy Paige, of CBS Los Angeles station KCBS-TV, broke the story that put the legal wheels in motion to have Banks cleared.
He reports that Banks, 26, will be trying out for the Seattle Seahawks Thursday.
His life has turned 180-degrees since last month, from a man wearing an ankle bracelet to monitor his every move as a registered sex offender, to walking out a free man to a cheering crowd on "The Tonight Show" Wednesday night.
He told Jay Leno, "I'm doing great. I'm on top of the world right now. This right here (being on the show) is too cool for school!"
Ten years ago, Banks was a high school football star with strong college prospects
But when a fellow student falsely accused him of rape, Banks was advised to plead "no contest," leading to imprisonment, then probation as a registered sex offender.
But just last year, Banks and a private investigator were able to catch the accuser admitting she lied about the assault. And that led to Banks' exoneration two weeks ago.
Banks says his first thoughts as a free man were not of regret or revenge, but of the game he loved.
He told a news conference, "I'd like to give a shot at the NFL."
Then-USC coach Pete Carroll was looking to recruit Banks a decade ago. Now coach of the Seattle Seahawks, he came calling once again.
"Here's a young man that's had an opportunity to get a second chance at his dream. And I just think he deserves it," Carroll says.
Banks will get his shot at the Seahawks training facility Thursday, and there are at least five other NFL teams who want to see him, as well.
"This has been a blessing. A blessing. A dream come true," Banks told Leno, adding that he stayed strong through his "faith in God."
Banks insists he's not looking for his 15 minutes of fame. He says he just wants the chance to prove he still has star power -- on the football field.
Carroll says he realizes it will be very difficult for Banks to compete at a pro level, since he didn't have a college career.
But Banks has been working every day since October, preparing for this chance. He says he's the strongest he's ever been. And an NFL trainer who's been working with him says he's been very impressive.
Banks also points out he doesn't have the injury history many players who took part in college ball do.
So, he says, he's very confident he can get the job done on the field.
Watch the full report in the video above.
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