Brian Banks' visit with the 49ers today has been characterized in some national reports as a one-day tryout. It's a bit more than that. Banks, the Southern California linebacker who was wrongfully incarcerated for five years, will take part in a three-day rookie minicamp with the 49ers.
That's the longest he's spent with any team. Banks, 26, has had workouts with the Seahawks, Chargers and Chiefs. Other teams, such as the Vikings, Redskins, Falcons and Giants have inquired about Banks. He's also taken part in a two-day minicamp with Seattle, which looked at him (6-3, 240 pounds) as an inside linebacker.
The 49ers also are likely to eye Banks as an inside linebacker. Their only rookie at the position, undrafted Joe Holland, suffered a foot injury during the team's recent full-squad minicamp and was seen in a walking boot last week. The injury is not expected to keep Holland, who has shown nice athleticism this spring, out of action long, and he's expected to be back for training camp, which for rookies begins July 23.
The Seahawks, of course, would be the most natural fit. Head coach Pete Carroll recruited Banks out of Long Beach Polytechnic High School 10 years ago before Banks was accused - falsely, it turned out - of raping a classmate in a stairwell. Banks pled no contest to the crime to avoid a much longer sentence. He served five years in prison and spent another five on probation before the girl, now a woman, recanted her story.
Banks was cleared in a court case on May 24, and he only truly began to dedicate himself to training after that point. It appears that the Seahawks and other squads are waiting to see whether he gets into shape before giving him a roster spot.
To that end, Banks has agreed to work with well known West Coast trainer Travelle Gaines, who will get his hands on Banks for the first time at the end of the week. Banks will train alongside current 49ers Dashon Goldson and LaMichael James in preparation for an NFL training camp.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King spoke to Banks last week for his Monday Morning Quarterback column. It's well worth a read.
-- Matt Barrows