Thursday, June 7, 2012
Around the NFC West: Brian Banks' shot
By Mike Sando
Imagine the smartest kid from your high school dropping out as a senior and spending six years in prison. Then imagine that kid trying to pass, say, the state bar exam upon his release at age 26.
We wouldn't expect that kid to fare very well, no matter how well he might have fared back in high school.
Brian Banks, wrongly imprisoned for six years following high school, is attempting something similar. Instead of the bar exam, he's making a run at the NFL -- his first taste of organized football since high school a decade ago.
The odds against Banks, a linebacker, are as staggering as his story is compelling.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says the team hopes Banks fares well in the tryout they're giving him Thursday, but it sounds like coach Pete Carroll wants to keep expectations from getting out of hand. Carroll: "This is an enormous jump. It’s against all odds physically that he would be able to get back and be able to compete at this level. But it’s a story worth following. We’ll be pulling for him. This may be just the first step along the way of his comeback. Hopefully we can contribute to that in some way."
Eric Pryne of the Seattle Times looks at development options near CenturyLink Field, including plans for a hotel.
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Carroll expects Chris Clemons to attend the Seahawks' mandatory camp for veterans next week. Carroll: "That's a personal situation for Chris. It's his choice to not participate at this time. We have talked with the agent and we've done some serious talks but not to the point where he's ready to jump back in yet."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Larry Fitzgerald's absence from a recent practice made the team's youth at receiver stand out. Stephen Williams keeps trying to find a niche. Somers: "Williams has been a preseason star before for the Cardinals. He was a training camp phenom in 2010, making the team as a rookie free agent. Last year, he led the Cardinals in receiving during the preseason. For Williams, the problem has been finding a role in the regular season. He was inactive in 14 games last season and had nine receptions in 11 games as a rookie. Williams' challenge is two-fold: He plays behind Fitzgerald, and he has not been able to find a role on special teams."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reports from a friendly competition between Jay Feely and Patrick Peterson.
Also from Urban: It's tough to say how Michael Floyd will fare as a rookie, but Urban isn't expecting the receiver to break out right away.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says Jeff Fisher shot his appearance in music video before becoming the Rams' head coach. Wagoner: "Fisher made his music video debut, appearing in the band Goodbye June’s video for the song 'Microscope' as a cop who is chasing down a villainous litterer. The Nashville-based band has had a longstanding friendship with Fisher’s daughter Tara and sought Fisher to make an appearance as well as do the shoot on Fisher’s expansive farm land in Tennessee. The shot took place in a single day back in January, before Fisher signed on as coach of the Rams."
Also from Wagoner: Rookie running back Isaiah Pead is playing catch-up after finally gaining clearance to join the Rams.
Dan Hanzus of NFL.com says the pressure's on Cortland Finnegan to produce for the Rams. Hanzus: "Finnegan will be 28 when the season begins, so the Rams should have prime seasons still ahead of them. But Finnegan won't be given much margin for error. He's now in the big boys club at his position, and with great salary comes great responsibility."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com says Jim Harbaugh sees "a big jump" in Anthony Davis' play at right tackle.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle offers notes from a recent 49ers practice. Branch: "Randy Moss had a spectacular, I’m-a-first-ballot-Hall-of-Famer, one-handed grab against cornerback Tarell Brown in the end zone. Moss appeared to intentionally bat the ball in the air with his right hand before hauling it in while Brown was draped all over him. Later, Moss made a curious attempt at another one-handed touchdown grab on a 50-something-yard laser from Johnson. Moss, who was wide open, stuck one hand in the air and the pass fell incomplete."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman, who says there might not be enough carries to keep all players happy at the position. Are there ever?