Falcons Sign Exonerated Brian Banks

    FILE - This May 24, 2012 file photo shows Brian Banks weeping after his rape conviction was dismissed in court, in Long Beach, Calif. Cleared just two weeks ago, Banks gets to pursue his NFL dream. The 26-year-old player has spent five years in prison. He now has a closed tryout with the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

    Brian Banks after his rape convicted was dismissed in May 2012. (Nick Ut/AP)

    The Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday signed Brian Banks, the once promising high school football star who spent five years in prison for rape before being exonerated. Banks, 27, was just 16 and made a verbal commitment to Southern Cal when a classmate of his at Long Beach Polytechnic High School accused him of rape. She eventually recanted her claim, which helped Banks win his exoneration last year after serving five years in prison and another five on probation. Calling signing with the Falcons “surreal,” Banks said that “to lose it all and watch the world pass you by as you sit inside a prison cell ... and then get it back, it’s very humbling.”

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