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Pete Carroll impressed Brian Banks isn’t bitter after exoneration


Brian Banks, center, reacts with his mother, Leomia Myers and father, Jonathan Banks, outside court after his rape conviction was dismissed Thursday May 24, 2012 in Long Beach, Calif. Banks, a former Long Beach high school football star and prized college recruit who served more than five years in prison for a rape he did not commit had his conviction overturned Thursday with his accuser recanting her story( AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Back when Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was the coach at USC, he had brought in a high school junior during recruitment, named Brian Banks.

When Banks got into some legal trouble and didn’t return for his senior year of high school, Carroll said they lost track of him. The USC coaches hadn’t gotten to the “heart” of recruiting and no one was able to recall Banks’ “no contest plea.”

“We had lost hope for him,” Carroll told 97.3 KIRO FM’s Dori Monson Show.

Ten years ago, Banks pleaded no contest on the advice of a lawyer after a childhood friend falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus. A judge threw out the conviction that sent Banks to prison for more than five years.

When Banks was exonerated, Carroll was eager to give him a second chance.

“It’s been so extraordinarily unfortunate for him,” Carroll said. “I can’t promise him anything – I’ve told him that.”

The pair have talked three or four times on the phone already; Banks recounted his experience facing punishment for the crime he didn’t commit, and what he’s been doing since.

Carroll described him as sharp and competitive: Two traits that might make for a great tryout with the Seahawks. Still, it’s a long shot for Banks. He was unable to play college football, making it more difficult to make the cut for a professional team.

Banks isn’t bitter about his experiences though, and that impressed the Seahawks coach. Carroll said they’re looking for someone with talent – and that athlete could be Banks.

Despite the Seahawks canceling their OTA scheduled for June 7, Carroll confirmed that Banks will still be on the field at practice.

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