Guy Exonerated in Rape Case Gets 2nd Shot at NFL Dream Brian Banks signed by Atlanta Falcons By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Apr 3, 2013 1:44 PM CDT 29 comments Comments This May 24, 2012, file photo shows Brian Banks weeping after his rape conviction was dismissed in court, in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File) (Newser) – Brian Banks was a 16-year-old top college football prospect back in 2002, but the linebacker's dreams of someday playing with the NFL were dashed when a classmate falsely accused him of rape. He was sent to prison for five years, but finally had his name cleared last year after the woman friended him on Facebook and admitted she had lied. And now he has a big-time second chance: He's been signed by the Atlanta Falcons, NBC Los Angeles reports. Banks, now 27, worked out with several NFL teams, including the Falcons, after his exoneration. He then joined the United Football League, and the Falcons watched him play for the Las Vegas Locomotives. "He has worked extremely hard for this chance over the last year and he has shown us that he is prepared for this opportunity," says the Falcons' GM. "We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL."