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                        === Banks among Falcons cuts ===
 
 Flowery  Branch,  GA (Sports  Network) -  Brian Banks'  second chance ended in
 Atlanta on Friday.
 
 The free agent linebacker, who was once wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and
 rape, was released by the Falcons.
 
 Banks'  odyssey  began in 2002 when  he was just  17. He had already secured a
 scholarship offer from then-USC coach Pete Carroll when a Long Beach Poly High
 School classmate accused him of rape.
 
 Banks  admitted  to a  romantic encounter  with Wanetta  Gibson but denied any
 sexual  intercourse. By  the end of the  day, however, he was sitting in jail,
 charged with two counts of forcible rape and the kidnapping.
 
 Banks  was  eventually kicked off the  football team, expelled from school and
 his USC scholarship was history but that was the least of his problems.
 
 Despite  no DNA  evidence linking Banks to any crime, Banks claimed his lawyer
 feared  he wouldn't  be able to get a  fair trial due to his size and race. So
 she, an African-American herself, convinced the young and immature teenager to
 plead no contest, something that took a possible 41-year jail sentence off the
 table.
 
 In  play, however, was a penalty of anywhere from 18 months to five years, and
 Banks  was  hit with the maximum.  Gibson, meanwhile, used the legal system to
 sue  the  school district  for a  lack of  security and  eventually won a $1.5
 million settlement.
 
 By  2007, after  Banks spent five years  in Chino State Prison, he was finally
 released  at  the age  of 22.  He was hardly  free, though,  forced to wear an
 electronic monitoring bracelet and register as a sex offender.
 
 Things  finally began  to turn  for  Banks in  2012  when he  was surfing  the
 Internet  on his computer. Gibson, the same woman who accused him of a heinous
 crime, reached out on Facebook, sending Banks a friend request.
 
 Stunned,  Banks got  in touch  with  the help  of a  private investigator  and
 eventually asked Gibson to help him get exonerated. Eventually Gibson admitted
 on  tape  that Banks never  raped or  kidnapped her, and  with the help of the
 California  Innocence Project, Banks took the taped confession to the district
 attorney's office.
 
 On  May 24, 2012, after five years in jail and five years on probation, Banks'
 nightmare was finally over.
 
 His dream of an NFL career, however, was derailed on Friday when Banks was one
 11 players released by the Falcons. He was originally signed by the Falcons as
 a  free  agent back  in March  after spending  the 2012  season with Las Vegas
 Locomotives of the United Football League.
 
 Also  cut  by Atlanta  on Friday  was guard Theo  Goins, defensive tackle Neal
 Huynh,  cornerback Terrence Johnson, safety Charles Mitchell, defensive tackle
 Micanor  Regis, offensive  tackle Alec Savoie, linebacker Pat Schiller, kicker
 Jeremy Shelley, cornerback Peyton Thompson, and running back Ronnie Wingo.
 
 The Falcons also placed quarterback Sean Renfree and tight end Andrew Szczerba
 on injured reserve.
 
 Atlanta's  roster now is  at 62 players and must be reduced to 53 by 6:00 p.m.
 ET on Saturday.
 
 
 
 08/30 16:34:34 ET