Man falsely accused of rape a winner in NFL tryout
Brian Banks working out for Seattle Seahawks, in Renton, Wash., Thursday (Corky Trewin,AP Photo/Seattle Seahawks)
(CBS News) Brian Banks, the pro football hopeful who spent more than five years in prison for a rape that never happened, tried out for the Seattle Seahawks Thursday.
His first tryout for a National Football League team went so well, he's been asked to come back for more.
Randy Paige, of CBS Los Angeles station KCBS-TV, broke the story that led to Banks being exonerated.
He asked Banks what it was like to finally show what he could do.
"When I walked out on that field, I thought, 'It's now or never. Let's just shine," Banks told Paige.
And shine he did.
Ten years after his hopes of a career in football were cut short by the false rape accusation, Banks got the chance to show Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll that he still had the right stuff to be considered for the NFL.
Banks has been invited to return to Seattle next week, to take part in the team's mini-camp training session.
"This is a great illustration for us why people deserve a second chance," Carroll says. " This is just one step, but it's a step he's been dreaming about for a long time."
"It's been a long, hard 10 years," Banks reflected.
A decade ago, Banks was a rising high school football star. But everything unraveled after a fellow student falsely accused him of raping her in a stairwell. Advised to plead "no contest" despite his innocence, Banks was imprisoned, then paroled as a registered sex offender.
"CBS This Morning" special correspondent James Brown, host of "NFL Today" on CBS Sports, told "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Charlie Rose and Erica Hill Friday it will be an "uphill battle" for Banks to reach the NFL. To see the discussion, click on the video below:
Then, Banks and a private investigator were able to catch the accuser on tape admitting she'd lied about the assault.
In the two weeks since he's been exonerated, five NFL teams in addition to the Seahawks have said they want to give him a tryout. He's said to have a session scheduled Friday with the San Diego Chargers.
Banks says going from wearing an ankle bracelet as a registered sex offender to his current efforts mean he's "waking up to a completely different life, from freedom to the (outpouring) of support and encouragement and opportunity."
He appeared on "The Tonight Show," and told Jay Leno that was "too cool for school."
Banks says he's grateful for all his new-found opportunities, but he's keeping them in perspective.
"Whether these tryouts are successful or not, I have my freedom. I've already won. I'm already rich," he said.
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