Brian Banks gets a shot with 49ers

Brian Banks is trying to take a step toward a career in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers beginning today.

The linebacker, who was wrongfully imprisoned for five years on rape chargers, will participate with the San Francisco 49ers during their minicamp on a tryout basis, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Banks, 26, has already worked out for the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Banks was a 16-year-old prep star at Long Beach Polytechnic High School when a girl accused him of rape and kidnapping. There was never any DNA evidence.

Banks spent five years in prison and another five as a registered sex offender. Then, the woman recanted her story and Banks had his name finally cleared last month.

It seems like a longshot that someone who has been away from the game for so long could pick it up again and compete at an NFL level. But teams are anxious to take a look at Banks. It would be a terrific story if he could make a team. It’s a wonderful story to learn that an innocent man is no longer carrying the shackles of a crime he didn’t commit.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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