Brian Banks, football player exonerated in rape case, to sign with UFL team

Brian Banks exits court after his kidnap-rape conviction was dismissed Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Long Beach, Calif. AP Photo/Long Beach Press-Telegram, Brittany Murray

(CBS/AP) LAS VEGAS - Brian Banks, a one-time high school football star who was recently exonerated in a California rape case in which he was falsely accused, is finally getting a chance to play professional football.

The 26-year-old Banks, a linebacker, is signing with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

The team confirmed the news in a statement Wednesday.

Banks served more than five years in prison following a conviction a decade ago on rape and kidnapping charges. The woman later recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name.

Banks and the Locomotives will announce the signing at a news conference Thursday.

Locomotives coach Jim Fassel says the team is pleased to give Banks "an opportunity in football that was denied him years ago."

In June, Banks was offered tryouts with several NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks. Banks had given a verbal commitment in the spring of 2002 to play college football at USC under current Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

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Banks started to get himself ready for a return to football last October when he weighed nearly 275 pounds but determined he wanted to give playing the sport he loves one last chance if he could get exonerated and no longer restricted by his probation.

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