Brian Banks looked like what you would expect from a former high school standout linebacker who had not played organized football in five years.
Recently exonerated for rape and kidnapping charges he was wrongfully charged for in Southern California, Banks got his first opportunity to show what he could do today as an invited tryout player at the second day of Seattle Seahawks minicamp.
He struggled getting lined up in the right spot at times, hit the wrong gap in the run game and was easily fooled by play action.
But overall, Banks’ athleticism showed, as he played middle linebacker for a handful of snaps with the third unit defense.
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“The first day was amazing,” Banks said. “This is just an amazing environment as well, to work out in this kind of weather, right off this water right here, with these coaches and these players. I’m just honored to be our here giving it my all.” And Banks won over Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr.
“He made a great first impression,” Norton said. “He’s really bright, really smart. He’s well spoken. And he has a great memory. He remembers everything you tell him. And that’s all a plus at this point.”
The first evidence that Banks was being treated like everyone else is when Norton called his name to take his first rep during 11-on-11 team drills, and the 26-year-old was slow to make it out on the field.
Norton angrily waved him off and bellowed: “It’s too late now. You’ve got to stand out in front and be ready when I call your name. You can’t be in the back of the room.”
Banks said he appreciated the hard coaching from Norton.
“I was waiting for that,” Banks said. “I don’t want nobody to take it easy on me out here. I know I have a lot of work to do. And if that’s what is required, then definitely – give it to me. I’m ready for it.”
Norton said he put him at middle linebacker because that where Banks said he has most of his experience.
Banks wore No. 43. He said he wore No. 10 in high school because that was his favorite number, but No. 43 is growing on him.
“No. 43 looks amazing,” Banks said, smiling.
Norton said he has 13 linebackers as part of his position group, and he pointed to the reality that Banks has an uphill climb to make Seattle’s final roster, competing against a group of players who have been plying their trade for a lot longer than he has.
“This is the NFL, the best of the best,” Norton said. “So it’s going to be really tough for him. Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot, and didn’t shy away from it, I’ve got to give him a plus for that. But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete. And he’s been out of it for 10 years, so it’s going to be really, really tough.”