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                   === Falcons give Brian Banks a chance ===
 
 Flowery  Branch,  GA  (Sports  Network)  -  The  Atlanta  Falcons  are  giving
 linebacker Brian Banks a chance.
 
 Banks,  who served  more than five years in prison after being wrongly accused
 and  convicted of  raping a female classmate  at Poly Tech High School in Long
 Beach, California, signed with the Falcons on Wednesday.
 
 He  was  later exonerated  after the  woman involved in  the case recanted her
 claim.
 
 "I  want to  thank  the  Atlanta Falcons.  The  entire  organization for  this
 opportunity. This is beyond me," said Banks on a conference call.
 
 Prior  to  his arrest  and conviction,  Banks was a  star high school football
 player who had a verbal commitment to USC.
 
 Banks  received tryouts  with the  Seattle  Seahawks, San  Diego Chargers  and
 Kansas  City Chiefs last season. He eventually took part in Seattle's minicamp
 last June.
 
 The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Banks ended up spending the 2012 season with Las Vegas
 Locomotives  of the  United Football League, appearing in two games before the
 UFL suspended its season in October.
 
 "We  are  pleased to have  Brian join our  team," said Falcons general manager
 Thomas  Dimitroff.  "We had a chance  to work him  out last year and have been
 monitoring  his  progress since  then. He  has worked  extremely hard for this
 chance  over  the last year and  he has shown us  that he is prepared for this
 opportunity.  We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream
 of playing in the NFL and we look forward to seeing him on the field."
 
 
 
 04/03 13:25:38 ET