Wrongly convicted man gets chance to play in UFL

Brian Banks works out for the Seattle Seahawks, in Renton, Wash., Thursday, June 7, 2012. Cleared of rape and kidnapping charges.  (AP Photo/Seattle Seahawks, Corky Trewin)

Brian Banks works out for the Seattle Seahawks, in Renton, Wash., Thursday, June 7, 2012. Cleared of rape and kidnapping charges. (AP Photo/Seattle Seahawks, Corky Trewin)

NBC LOS ANGELES – A man who was exonerated after spending five years in prison for a rape he did not commit has another chance to pursue his dream of playing professional football.

Brian Banks, a highly recruited standout football player at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, will play for the Las Vegas Locos of the United Football League this season. Since his release from prison, Banks has tried out for NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and former USC coach Pete Carroll.

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“Congrats to Brian Banks!,” Carroll tweeted Wednesday. “Signed by the UFL’s Las Vegas club… we’re fired up for him!”

When Carroll was head coach at USC, the program was one of several college powerhouses that recruited Banks, who is now 26.

The linebacker was 16 when a girl he had known since childhood accused him of rape. Banks was arrested and, on advice of counsel, pleaded no contest to rape and an enhancement of kidnapping in order to avoid a possible life sentence if tried by a jury.

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