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Falcons sign linebacker Brian Banks

April 3, 2013 at 1:40 PM

ATLANTA, April 3 (UPI) -- Brian Banks, exonerated of rape charges after serving over five years in prison, was signed Wednesday by the Atlanta Falcons, the team announced.

"We are pleased to have Brian on our team," Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "We are happy Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL."

Banks, 27, was convicted and imprisoned on rape and kidnapping charges 10 years ago but the victim recanted her claim and offered to help him clear his name, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, noting the Falcons have avoided signing players with character issues since the conviction of quarterback Michael Vick on charges relating to dog fighting.

"I just want to thank God for the opportunity. I want to thank God for life," Banks said in a conference call Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker played for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League in 2012.

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