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Former NFL player Banks cleared of rape charges

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:09 a.m. CDT

ATLANTA (AP) — Brian Banks said signing with an NFL team is his second-biggest accomplishment. The biggest was being exonerated of rape charges one year ago.

The 27-year-old signed with the Atlanta Falcons, giving him an opportunity he said he did not believe would be possible when he spent five years in prison and five years on probation.

Banks was a 16-year-old and had made a verbal commitment to sign with Southern Cal when a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape. The woman eventually recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. That helped lead to the conviction being overturned by a California court and Banks’ record being cleared on May 12, 2012.