Pete Carroll, the same football coach who recruited Los Angeles High School football star Brian Banks to the USC team one decade ago, is reportedly giving the 26-year-old a second chance after 10 years fighting a false rape conviction.
Carroll coaches the Seattle Seahawks now, and has granted the NFL hopeful a June 7 tryout, reports ESPN. Banks claims that the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins…
… have also expressed interest.
Banks' trainers originally told LA Weekly that he wanted to stay local with a spot on the San Diego Chargers, but a spokesman for the team responded that the Chargers had “no interest” in seeing what Banks had to offer.
The fallen star has been training full-force since October, and has lost over 50 pounds thanks to twice-a-day workouts in Long Beach. For more on that grueling hero's journey, see “Brian Banks Not Guilty of Rape, Still Hoping to Play for NFL's Chargers After 10-Year Ordeal.”
At least the Seahawks are West Coast! And the team could have a real press magnet on its hands, judging by the huge outpouring of public support that Banks has received since news of his innocence broke.
“What coach wouldn't want this story?” asked Marcus Hobbs, Banks' trainer, last week.
According to the official NFL blog, Seahawks coach Carroll “has frequently used the background he obtained in recruiting players to USC in the Seahawks' efforts to acquire players.” For example:
Carroll's familiarity with West Virginia's Bruce Irvin, a high school dropout who spent time in a juvenile detention center, played a key role in the team's decision to use the 15th overall pick on the defensive end in April's draft. While there are no guarantees that Banks will earn a contract offer from the Seahawks or any team that brings him for a tryout, he does deserve a chance, and Carroll has consistently given players he's familiar with at least that.
And if that doesn't work out, Banks tells ESPN that he's been offered an off-the-field job by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here's to hoping this high-school great can muster all the college field experience he missed while in jail, and show the Chargers what a mistake they're making. Indeed, Gavin Macmillan, who has trained other NFL players and now trains Banks on a volunteer basis, expresses his confidence to ESPN: “You can see why USC wanted him.”
We've re-contacted the San Diego team to see if there are any second thoughts on a tryout.