Banks Adjusting Well to Time Away From Game

Banks Adjusting Well to Time Away From Game

Jay Adams

Published August 13, 2013 at 6:46 PM

For 10 years, Falcons linebacker Brian Banks was kept from chasing his dream to be an NFL football player after being convicted of a crime he was eventually exonerated for. Weeks into his first NFL training camp, Banks is adjusting to the differences he’s noticing in mental and physical abilities from his rookie teammates, who are fresh out of college football.

Banks spent five years in prison and another five on probation before being exonerated and, thus, given a chance to chase that dream. Since being signed by the Falcons in March, Banks has been trying to make up for 10 years of football experience he never had.

“I think sometimes I really stress on myself or I get hard on myself for wanting to get better and sometimes I lose sight of the experience I’ve actually had and the experience that I’ve actually missed,” Banks said after practice Tuesday. “I haven’t come in looking myself as disadvantaged because of what I’ve been through or the things I’ve lacked out on, and I try not to think like that. Then, sometimes I have to try and remember, this is a work in progress. This is me trying to play football at a professional level after being away from football, period, really for 10 years.”

On both the mental and physical sides of the game, Banks notices the differences that he has with his teammates who haven’t had any sort of lapse in their football careers. Techniques that his teammates picked up during college football that help them shed blockers are things that Banks is trying to pick up now. He’s learning the primary and intermediate level of the game, which he describes as one big mesh of information.

But Banks calls it “a really good challenge,” adding that he’s making good progress and that the adjustment is going well for him.

With the linebacker position becoming interesting with the emergence of fellow undrafted rookie Paul Worrilow and several other young linebackers looking to lock up a spot on the roster, Banks is doing what he can to stay in the mix. He saw his first live NFL action last week against Cincinnati when he came in during the fourth quarter and secured his first NFL tackle.

After watching film of the game, Banks got a better idea of the things he needs to work on and how important it is to stay in the mindset of always trying to get better.

Two days from now is another chance for that as the Falcons take on the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night.

“I want to look at it like Coach (Mike) Smith says: It’s a business trip,” Banks said. “As much as it is exciting and fun, I definitely want to buckle down and treat it as a work experience and definitely just follow the lead of the veterans.”

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