ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons waived Brian Banks, the linebacker who was attempting to make a late start to his NFL career after spending five years in prison on a conviction that was later overturned.
The 28-year-old Banks spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago. The woman who made the charge when Banks was 16 later recanted her accusation.
The conviction was overturned by a California court last year.
Banks had two tackles, including one for a loss, in the Falcons' 20-16 preseason loss to Jacksonville on Thursday night. He was listed as the third-string middle linebacker and faced an uphill battle to make the team.
"Brian is a guy that has not played football in 10 years," Falcons coach Mike Smith said after Thursday night's game. "He has really matured and progressed as a football player since we've had him on our roster."
Banks signed with the Falcons in March. He said Thursday he faced a different challenge than most players competing for roster spots as he tried to make up for his lost decade.
"My learning curve is definitely different from a lot of the guys here," Banks said. "I was learning a lot of the one-on-one basic things of football as well as the intermediate things of football and meshing them all together at once in a small period of time. It was definitely challenging, but I've enjoyed myself the whole time."