Derailed NFL hopeful gets new chance at football life

Brian Banks was an NFL hopeful several years back, but his career was derailed by a wrongful criminal conviction. On Saturday, his long search for vindication turned an important corner. CBS News correspondent Carter Evans spoke with him.

"I am honored to say I've taken an amazing position with the front office of the NFL," Banks wrote on his Facebook page. He'll be a manager in the football operations department. He says it's just now sinking in.

It's an opportunity of a lifetime, it's something that at one point in my life, I would have never [thought] of happening.Banks had been accused by a high school classmate of a rape that never happened. He was just 16, a star linebacker at Long Beach Poly High, with a full-ride scholarship waiting for him at USC and a dream to play in the NFL.

"All I had to do was play my senior year," he said. "The biggest year of my life."

But it never happened. He spent five years in prison and another four on probation before his alleged victim admitted she made it all up.

When Banks was exonerated in 2012, his story gained national attention, including a profile on 60 minutes.

Even though he'd lost 10 years, he hoped -- against all odds -- that he could still make it in the NFL.

He tried out for the Seattle Seahawks and finally took the field in a pre-season game last year with the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's a dream come true," he said. "And if it all ended today, you know: Mom, I did it.

Banks was always realistic about his chances of making it in the NFL and his career on the field, ended with that game.

" I chased the dream and I will continue to chase it as long as I can, but when it's over, that means it's just new beginnings in other places of my life."

That included motivational speaking, where he caught the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and a new job.

" I just cannot wait to be in New York, working with the NFL," said Banks. "Just continuing to use success as a response to everything I've been though in my life."

In the end, his success off the field led him back to pro football.

  • Carter Evans

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