WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Football fans watching tonight’s Falcons/Bengals game would say a pre-season game doesn’t really matter.
But these same fans aren’t standing in Brian Banks’ cleats.
After spending five years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit and five more years trying to clear his name while on probation, Banks — wearing #53 — stepped out onto the field this evening to play in his first NFL game.
The Falcons were playing in Atlanta where the 28-year-old Banks entered the game in the 4th quarter and quickly recorded a tackle.
Serene Branson, reporting for KCAL9, watched the game in West Hollywood at the gym ‘Athletic Gaines’, along with Banks’ trainer, Travelle Gaines.
“To finally see him get to run through a NFL tunnel with a NFL team … one step closer to his dream,” said Gaines.
Earlier in the day, Banks wrote about his excitement and his trepidation on Instagram. “Game Day. Never thought this day would come. And if it all ended here tonight… Mom, I did it.…”
Banks is one of nine lineman trying out for about five spots. The first cuts to the roster will take place around September 1.
The Long Beach native’s story has long touched football fans. And Branson says Thursday night was no different.
His training team was impressed with Banks from day one.
“He practically lived here, he was here a couple times a day working hard to get ready,” said Gaines.
Banks’ trainer said he lost 13 pounds this summer by working on his 6’2″, 250-pound body overtime.
“Not only did he work hard, he constantly thanked everyone for being here,” said Gaines.