AFC West: Brian Banks

A U-T San Diego columnist opines that San Diego general manager A.J. Smith is safe in his job through 2014, which is the length of his contract even if the Chargers fail to make the playoffs this year.

Columnist Kevin Acee argues that if the Chargers don’t make the playoff in 2012 he thinks Smith will be given a chance to hire a replacement for Norv Turner.

Acee knows that team well, so I am not going to argue against him. But I do think it behooves everyone on San Diego’s coaching staff and in its front office to do what it can to end the two-year playoff streak now and not there chances in the offseason.

In other AFC West news:

In an Insider piece, Mel Kiper takes a summer look at where each AFC West team stands.

Here are some roundtable fantasy thoughts on San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.

Here is a roundtable discussion on what Denver receiver, Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker, is a better fantasy play.

Oakland safety Michael Huff has joined the United Way’s Team NFL to recruit readers, tutors and mentors.

Check this out: The Raiders have a hero in their midst.

Linebacker Brian Banks left San Francisco’s tryout without a contract. He has also tried out for the Chargers and Chiefs. Neither AFC West team is expected to give him a contract at this point.
Brian Banks has worked out for his second AFC West team since being exonerated in a sexual assault case.

It is unclear if he will end up in the division. Last week, he worked out for the San Diego Chargers, but they currently do not have any plans to sign him. Wednesday, he worked out for the Kansas City Chiefs with more workouts planned.

Banks was a prized linebacker recruit 10 years ago when he was 16. Coach Romeo Crennel told reporters in Kansas City that Banks’ workout was solid, but he didn’t give any hints if the team will sign him.

“It went well considering he hasn’t been playing football, but you can tell he has been working out,” Crennel said. “The football drills, he still remembers those things. I think the more workouts that he can have with different teams, the more it will come back to him. It was a decent workout.”

Crennel did say Banks will be challenged because of his decade away from the game.

“The game has changed quite a bit, and not having played, that’s the biggest challenge -- the level of competition, the skill of the guys that he’s going against and then the change of the game itself being a more wide open game,” Crennel said. “You have terminology issues you have to deal with, conditioning you have to deal with. All of those things make it tougher for him to come back and just jump right in and make a big impact.”

Meanwhile, Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles told reporters he could play a game this week if he had to. He is returning from a torn ACL in his knee that he suffered in Week 2 last season.
Kansas City general manger Scott Pioli offered no update on the situation with receiver Dwayne Bowe. He is not expected to attend the team’s mandatory minicamp. He's not technically under contract because he hasn’t signed his franchise tag.

Again, this is just a procedural situation that will eventually play itself out. Bowe is not going to bypass $9-plus million this year (his franchise tag number) if he is not given long-term deal before he signs his tender.

In other AFC West news:
It doesn’t appear the San Diego Chargers will pursue linebacker Brian Banks. However, the Kansas City Chiefs appear set to take a look at him.

U-T San Diego reports that San Diego coach Norv Turner said the team doesn’t plan to invite Banks back after his Friday workout. The paper adds that Banks will soon work out with the Chiefs.

Banks worked out for the Seahawks on Thursday, and the team invited him back for its upcoming minicamp. Banks was recently exonerated from a sexual assault charge on which he was convicted 10 years ago. He was 16 and prized USC recruit when he went to jail; he is now 26. Seattle coach Pete Carroll is the man who recruited him at USC.
If the San Diego Chargers like what they see in their workout with linebacker Brian Banks, they should sign him before he goes to the Seahawks’ minicamp next week. Why take the risk?

The Seahawks invited Banks to their minicamp after giving him a tryout Thursday. Banks was recently exonerated from a sexual assault charge on which he was convicted 10 years ago. He was 16 and prized USC recruit when he went to jail. He is now 26. Seattle coach Pete Carroll is the man who recruited him at USC.

Banks is from Southern California and expressed an interest to try out for the Chargers. San Diego began to study Banks and now is looking at him Friday, U-T San Diego reported. The Chiefs are also interested in giving him a tryout.

If the Chargers really like him, thought, they should make a move now.

In other AFC West news:

The Raiders signed fourth-round pick, linebacker Miles Burris. The San Diego State product is expected to play on special teams right way and vie for playing time at linebacker in the near future. Oakland has two remaining draft picks to sign. There are five remaining draft picks in the AFC West. The Chargers have signed their entire class.
Quarterbacks are measured on victories. That’s one of the reason why new Kansas City offensive coordinator Brian Daboll believes in Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel.

Daboll points to Cassel’s 11-win season in New England in 2008 (when he spelled an injured Tom Brady) and his 10-win season in 2010 as evidence that Cassel is and can continue be an effective NFL quarterback.

“He’s been a winner,” Daboll told reporters in Kansas City of Cassel on Thursday. “He’s had two 10-plus win seasons. I did a study just this offseason about 10-plus-win quarterbacks, which is what you’re defined by, obviously. There’s been nine of them in the last four years that have had two or more 10-plus win seasons in the regular season, and Matt is one of them. The other ones being Brady, (Drew) Brees, (Aaron) Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli (Manning), (Joe) Flacco, (Matt) Ryan, so he’s been a winner. He works his tail off in the classroom. I think he’s done a good job in these OTAs, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

In other AFC West notes:

I know a lot of readers are connecting pass-rusher Aaron Kampman, cut by Jacksonville on Thursday, and the Raiders because he was in Green Bay with new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie. However, I think the Raiders are set on the defensive line. Plus, Kampman is very banged up.

Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel said Thursday he expects running Jamaal Charles to go to the doctor soon in an attempt to get cleared for training camp. There aren’t expected to be any issues with Charles -- who was lost for the 2011 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in Week 2 -- receiving clearance.

The Seahawks invited linebacker Brian Banks to their minicamp after giving him a tryout Thursday. The Chiefs have been interested in giving him a tryout. Banks was recently exonerated from a sexual assault charge on which he was convicted 10 years ago. He was 16 and prized USC recruit when he went to jail. He is now 26.

Crennel said Thursday the Chiefs would still like to work Banks out. However, Seattle has to be considered the favorite to sign him. I think if Banks works well in a practice setting, the Seahawks will sign him. Seattle coach Pete Carroll is the man who recruited him at USC.

The Chiefs believe newly signed tight end Martin Rucker may have a torn ACL. He was a bit of a long shot to make the 53-man roster.
Shortly after being exonerated in a sexual assault case from 10 years ago, linebacker Brian Banks expressed interest in trying out for the San Diego Chargers.

The team didn’t show any initial interest in the Southern California resident. However, U-T San Diego reported Wednesday, the Chargers have been in contact with Banks. No tryout has been scheduled, but the contact indicates that the team will consider looking at Banks.

ESPN’s Rick Reilly reported earlier Wednesday that the Chiefs called Banks about setting up a tryout. He has talked to several other teams and has a workout scheduled with the Seahawks next week.

Banks, now 26, was a highly prized USC recruit before he was convicted of sexual assault. He was recently exonerated.

Meanwhile, U-T San Diego reports that linebacker Larry English returned to organized team activities after suffering a minor groin injury.
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the NFL teams willing to give Brian Banks a shot 10 years after he last played football.

ESPN’s Rick Reilly reports the Chiefs called Banks about setting up a tryout. Banks, now 26, was a highly-prized USC recruit when he was convicted of sexual assault. He was recently exonerated.

Banks has resumed working out and he has expressed interest in exploring an NFL career. Count the Chiefs in on being interested.

Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli has never struck me as someone who is interested in novelties or participating in publicly stunts. If he is interested in giving Banks a chance to be a Chief, Pioli must think it is worth exploring.

There is no doubt the odds are against Banks making an impact in the NFL. But there’s little risk in giving him a chance.

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