Brian Banks makes his NFL debut with Atlanta Falcons


In the closing minutes of an otherwise forgettable preseason affair, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks had his moment.

By now, you've heard of Banks.

A premier high school recruit on tap to play for USC, Banks' life was flung off course when he was falsely accused of rape and sent to prison for five years. He eventually managed to clear his name and pursue his dream of an NFL career.

Banks, 28, signed with the Falcons in April and earned his first pro snaps in Thursday night's 34-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I feel completely relaxed," Banks said before kickoff, per ESPN's Lisa Salters. "I thought I might be nervous, maybe a little giddy, maybe it hasn't hit me yet."

Banks then acknowledged: "Why should I be nervous? This is just football. Nervous ... is when I was walking into a courtroom and waiting to see if I was going to be sentenced to go to prison."

After roughly a decade away from the sport, Banks notched his first NFL tackle Thursday, stopping Bengals running back Dan Herron late in the fourth quarter. Banks is a long shot to make the Falcons' roster, but stranger things have happened. Especially to Banks.

For more on Banks' amazing story, listen to his recent appearance on the "Rich Eisen Podcast." After hearing Banks share what he's endured, it's impossible not to root for the man.

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