Should the 49ers sign linebacker Brian Banks?

Leading Off: Banks deserves shot to play in the NFL

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012 - 7:07 pm

If Brian Banks makes it with the 49ers or another NFL team, fair-minded folks would be justified in cheering – and maybe shedding a few tears of relief and joy on the young man's behalf, too.

By now, Banks' story is familiar. Arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned for a rape he did not commit, he was exonerated after his accuser said she lied about the attack.

Banks wasn't cleared on a technicality after serving five years in prison – he flat-out didn't do it.

Banks, 26, a top Southern California high school linebacker and college prospect when he was arrested, is going through tryouts that could lead to a pro career. In giving him an opportunity, these teams are doing the right thing.

Believers in happy endings want this to work, for Banks to have the skills to be able to play the game he loves, make good money and, to the extent possible, help heal scars caused by that lie.

Reality might have other plans.

Before his tryouts with the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers and other NFL teams, the last time Banks played organized ball was a stint at Long Beach City College in 2007 following his prison release. He has missed years of training, conditioning, experience and contact, making him a long, long shot to make it in the NFL.

But that's just another reason to root for the guy.

What to watch

Baseball, Giants at L.A. Angels, 7:05 p.m., Ch. 31: Tune in to see Ryan Vogelsong, who is 6-0 in his last eight starts.

What to do

Baseball, L.A. Dodgers at A's, 7:05 p.m., O.co Coliseum: A's starter Tommy Milone is happy to be home, where he has a 0.98 ERA this season.

Today's poll

Should the 49ers sign linebacker Brian Banks?

• Yes

• No

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Tuesday's results

What's your take on Tiger Woods?

• He deserves all the attention: 23%

• He's become just another pro golfer: 66%

• Tiger who? 11%

Total votes: 209

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Read more articles by Brian Blomster

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