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Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks can say he did it.
Banks was released by the Falcons today as NFL teams cut their roster down to 53-players by Saturday. He still has a chance to be signed by another NFL team. If Banks showed enough potential this preseason, one team, including the Falcons, could sign him to their practice squad. Being on a practice squad would give Banks at least a year to get back into football shape and compete for a roster spot next season.
No matter what happens, Banks fulfilled his dream to be on an NFL team.
“I’ve been fully consumed in making this team, trying to catch up on all these years I missed in football,” Banks told AJC.com last night after Atlanta's 20-16 loss against Jacksonville. “My learning curve was definitely different from a lot of guys here. I was learning a lot of one-on-on basic things in football, as well as the intermediate things in football and meshing it all together at once over a small period of time. It was definitely challenging but, overall, I enjoyed myself immensely.”
Banks was falsely accused of rape when he was a high school star, ruining his chances to play for University of Southern California. He went sent to prison for five years, then placed on probation for five years after his 2007 release. Banks had to register as a sex offender and could not live within 2,000 feet from any school or park. He also had to keep a GPS device around his ankle to ensure that he did not leave the state.
However, Banks was finally exonerated in May 2012 after his accuser contacted him on Facebook and recanted her story.
Instead of being bitter, Banks expressed his appreciation to teammates after Atlanta’s preseason finale last night:
Brian gave a speech last night to the team that had some vets on the verge of tears, about appreciating every second on that field— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 30, 2013
Glazer added that Falcons owner Arthur Blank was so impressed with Banks, they are trying to to place him in a career opportunity in Atlanta around the team.
We will never know what may have happened if Banks’ life had not been derailed years ago.
However, we do know Banks finally made it to the NFL, even if that journey ends today.
Here is what Banks posted on his Instagram account as she attended her first NFL game last night:
"After 5 years in prison, 5 years missing her child, 10 years we struggle... Mom look at us NOW! Thank u God. You NEVER left us. Because we never left you. I've already won! No matter what , Mom we did it. We are free. #RISEUP"
The NCAA inquiry into Johnny Manziel is apparently moving forward. But we still don't know if it will affect his playing status this season.
ESPN.com is reporting that Manziel met with investigators for six hours on Sunday about the allegations that he signed autographs in exchange for payment from memorabilia dealers. However, according to the report, it's unknown whether or not the NCAA wants to meet with Manziel again. According to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, Manziel denied the allegations during the meeting.
Manziel is listed as Texas A&M's starter for its game Saturday against Rice, and despite the reports of the NCAA meeting, there's been nothing to dissuade that at this point. On Monday, Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement that members of the football program had been asked to not answer questions about Manziel's status.
ESPN first reported the NCAA was looking into the allegations, as well as other claims from dealers that Manziel had signed items for a fee from them.
Because of the questions surrounding his status, the defending Heisman Trophy winner was listed as the ninth-best favorite for the award this year.
Englewood, CO (Sports Network) - The National Football League made it official on Tuesday, suspending Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller for the first six games of the 2013 season for violations of the league's substance abuse policy.
The 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year will not be eligible to return to action until the week following the Broncos' Oct. 13 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"The Substances of Abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules. Although my suspension doesn't result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules," Miller said in a statement issued shortly after the ruling.
"I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself. I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future. During my time off the field, I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape. I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver."
Reports earlier this summer indicated that Miller was headed for a four-game penalty, but ESPN and NFL.com both revealed in recent days that an extra two games was on the table and that the third-year star was trying to negotiate the ban back to four games.
The Denver Post had cited league sources as saying Miller's suspension was not because of a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug or a recreational drug. However, the NFL's website previously stated it could be for missing tests or counseling sessions.
"Von is one of our teammates. He's part of the family," said Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. "I certainly have his back. We support him 100 percent."
Miller was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. He recorded 64 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in his first season to earn the league's top rookie award on defense. The 24-year-old Texas A&M product built on his impressive debut campaign by posting 68 tackles and 18 1/2 sacks in 2012.
Denver opens the season against the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 5, then faces the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Jaguars over the following five weeks.
Miller will be allowed to return to game action for the Broncos' following contest, at Indianapolis on Oct. 20.
"Von has acknowledged making some mistakes in the past and is now being held accountable under the policies the league has in place. While it's very disappointing that we will be without him for the start of the season, we will support him as a football team and organization," said Broncos head coach Jon Fox in a team-issued release.
"All of us will stand by Von and help him however possible as he continues his personal growth off the field. Replacing him on the field will not be easy, but every team must deal with adversity. We will plan accordingly and be prepared. I am confident our team will step up and meet the challenge. I expect Von to stay in excellent shape and be ready to play at a high level when he returns to the Broncos."
To mitigate the effects of the suspension, plus a wrist injury to middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, the Broncos moved swiftly to sign 11-year veteran linebacker Paris Lenon.
The 35-year-old Lenon totaled 103 tackles, two sacks and one interception in 16 games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012.
Since breaking into the NFL with Green Bay in 2002, Lenon has racked up 809 tackles, 12 sacks and five interceptions over 175 appearances for the Packers, Lions, Rams and Cardinals.
Foster, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, has 4,521 rushing yards and 44 rushing touchdowns over the past four seasons. Houston has finished 10-6 and 12-4, respectively, over the past two years.The Texans recorded playoff victories each of the last two seasons riding Foster and a strong running game.
The Texans need to hope that's not a thing of the past already.
Foster continues to deal with back soreness, which is now causing problems with his legs, and Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle he was unsure when his running back will return, saying the trainers want to give it a few more days "or whatever that period of time is" before Foster returns to the field.
“He has some lower-back soreness that’s bothering him in his legs a little,” Kubiak said. “He’s had some injections to try and alleviate some of the soreness.
“The way I understand it right now, we’re trying to get through the injection process, that it’s causing some discomfort, and it’s something that’s going to take some time for him to get through.”
Kubiak also expressed concern about the lack of depth behind Foster. Texans running back Ben Tate started in two of the 15 games he appeared in as a rookie and finished with 942 rushing yards and four touchdowns that year. He also appeared in 11 games last season. But once you get past Tate,Houston’s unproven backfield features Deji Karim, plus rookies Cierre Wood and Dennis Johnson.
READ MORE: Yahoo! Sports
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady looks just fine. His fans and teammates are relieved.
The key to the success of the New England Patriots participated fully in the team's walkthrough Thursday. He jogged with other players at the start. He dropped back normally to throw passes. And he didn't limp.
An alarming situation — he had left Wednesday's practice with an apparent left knee injury — was just a false alarm.
"I'm good," was all Brady told waiting media members as he walked off the practice field Thursday after removing the black brace he wore during the workout. "You can all go home."
Then, after signing some autographs and posing for pictures, the star quarterback walked back into Gillette Stadium where he may or may not play in Friday night's exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't speak with reporters after the third and final day of joint practices with the Buccaneers.
Brady was knocked down by left tackle Nate Solder after releasing a pass midway through Wednesday's session. Solder had been pushed into Brady by Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn. A person with knowledge of the situation said Brady sprained his left knee and an MRI was negative. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Patriots did not make an announcement about Brady's health.
But players knew quickly that their two-time league MVP was OK.
"Right after practice, actually. We got the news pretty quick," running back Stevan Ridley said. "It was a scary moment, but really, with Tom, I know he's a competitor and he's going to do whatever to get him out there. I'm just glad they took him out, checked him out and made sure he was good. So ... my heart's at peace knowing that he's OK and knowing that nothing major's going on."
Brady suffered a season-ending injury to the same knee in the 2008 opener but hasn't missed a game since that year.
"That's our leader, man," Ridley said. "We ride with Tom Brady all the way and anytime you see somebody go down like that, kind of everything stops in front of you. But, for us, we just have to move on and hope for the best and that's what we did and we found out later that day at team meetings that he was OK and that was all the news that we needed to know, that our quarterback was going to be with us."
For a while, with no information coming out, fans wondered if Brady was hurt badly. Many of them expressed their concerns on Twitter.
"I think there were a lot of fans at home probably pulling out their hair," safety Devin McCourty said. It was a big story until reports surfaced that the injury wasn't serious.
"I think you guys had more communication and more opinions than we did," McCourty told reporters.
"We actually got to see him in the locker room and all that, so it wasn't as crazy as, I think, the media made it seem."
Solder even had a restful night, despite his role.
"I didn't let it affect my sleep," he said. "It's part of the game."
The brace Brady wore Thursday was heavier than the one he had on a day earlier and similar to what he wears in games. He moved smoothly through the slow-speed walkthrough.
During a hurry-up drill, Brady dropped back and completed two passes to tight end Zach Sudfeld and one to Aaron Dobson against minimal coverage. There was no sign that his knee was hindering him.
After practice, he spent about a half hour on the field with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, their son Benjamin, 3, and Brady's son Jack, with actress Bridget Moynahan. He turns 6 on Wednesday.
She threw a pass to her husband. He ran with his children. Jack threw the ball to her.
Then Brady walked the length of the field and past the cameras and reporters, with a football tucked under his left arm and a steady stride.
Belichick will decide whether he plays on Friday night. It's only an exhibition game, but Ridley said it matters whether Brady plays or not.
"It's all a different ballgame when Brady's in the game," Ridley said. "I think it matters for everybody who's watching sports as well as the team that's out there on the field."