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Thursday, June 7, 2012
The next step for NFL hopeful Brian Banks

By Mike Sando

Brian Banks has finished his first tryout with the Seattle Seahawks.

The team did not get a chance to watch Banks participate in organized team activities, which the NFL canceled, so the Seahawks hope to take a closer look at the linebacker during their minicamp next week. They've invited him to participate in their June 12-14 camp, on a tryout basis.

That's great news for Banks, who is trying to transition to the NFL at age 26 following his wrongful imprisonment. A team presumably would not put Banks on the field in a competitive situation as a publicity stunt. Banks must have shown sufficient athleticism to warrant another look without putting himself or others at undue risk.

Coach Pete Carroll even said "it's very possible" that Banks could earn a roster spot. There would be no advantage in Carroll taking such tack publicly unless it were true. Why create unrealistic expectations? Carroll also spoke Thursday about balancing hopes against the reality that Banks has much work to do even in a best-case scenario.

Banks would first have to accept the Seahawks' offer to attend their camp. He could have options with other teams. We're still in the early stages of the process. Banks would not sign as part of the Seahawks' 90-man roster. He would attend on a tryout basis, which is common.

The minicamp Seattle has scheduled for June 12-14 will take place in a tightly controlled setting. The NFL has already punished the Seahawks for violating rules against contact. The team was going to be under heightened scrutiny for that reason. Throw in Banks, whose story has resonated nationally, and exponentially more eyeballs will be trained on the Seahawks next week.

Banks' story is irresistible. It's easy to root for him personally whether or not you're a fan of the team giving him a chance. Seattle camp next week was already mandatory for veterans. It'll become mandatory viewing if Banks accepts the invite.