Redemption Story Ends In Atlanta?
It is sad to know that football fans will not be seeing former wrongfully convicted LB Brian Banks play in a regular season game for the Atlanta Falcons, especially since there are still questions remaining of who key contributors to Atlanta's linebacker corps will be in 2013. I really wanted him to at least get some reps in every game and work his way into the starting lineup by midseason. Besides, wouldn't you want to to see a football player go from the jailhouse (even though he was innocent of the crime in which he was convicted) to lighting up the Saints or other division rivals in the Georgia Dome to cap off his long road to redemption?
Yet Banks did not complain much about being released by the Falcons last week. He is just happy to have had that chance to finally expereince what the NFL life and the opportunity to play in an NFL game feels like.
“I’ve been fully consumed in making this team, trying to catch up on all these years I missed in football,” Banks told AJC.com. “My learning curve was definitely different from a lot of guys here. I was learning a lot of one-on-one basic things in football, as well as the intermediate things in football and meshing it all together at once over a small period of time. It was definitely challenging but, overall, I enjoyed myself immensely.”
Do not count out Banks' return to pro football just yet though. If he can still be in football shape throughout the year, I see him joining someone's practice squad at some point during the season. Or he can certainly try his hand at the CFL or AFL, then go for a spot on an NFL team's 53 man roster again. Even if he does not play football again, Banks can still be an influential force in the sports world - he can go to cities and towns to talk to people about his journey to the pros. And reportedly, Falcons owner Arthur Blank loves Banks so much that he wants to bring him back to the organization. I think Blank may give Banks a position where he can do community outreach work. I expect that move to happen, considering that the Falcons love players with honorable character.
I wish Brian Banks the best in any future endeavors, whether they be related to football or inspirational speaking/community, as he continues to bounce back from adversity that almost cost him the dream to play professional sports.