The Atlanta Falcons have waived Brian Banks, a Los Angeles linebacker who was imprisoned for five years after being convicted of a rape that never happened.
Banks, 28, spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago. The woman who made the charge when Banks was a 16-year-old football standout later recanted her accusation.
The conviction was overturned by a California court last year.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Banks reacted to the news.
"My time with the Falcons has come to an end," he wrote. "Celebrating my success! No matter what happens from here, I pushed myself, I saw past my past, I succeeded. I played in the NFL! Something I thought would never happen. I thank you all for supporting me and hope you continue, be it sports or in life."
Even though he was cut, Banks might still have a future in Atlanta, according to media reports. Falcons owner Arthur Blank, impressed with Banks, is reportedly trying to find him a career opportunity in the city.
Banks had two tackles, including one for a loss, in the Falcons' 20-16 preseason loss to Jacksonville on Thursday night. He was listed as the third-string middle linebacker and faced an uphill battle to make the team.
"Brian is a guy that has not played football in 10 years," Falcons coach Mike Smith said after Thursday night's game. "He has really matured and progressed as a football player since we've had him on our roster."
Banks signed with the Falcons in March. He said Thursday he faced a different challenge than most players competing for roster spots as he tried to make up for his lost decade.
"My learning curve is definitely different from a lot of the guys here," Banks said. "I was learning a lot of the one-on-one basic things of football as well as the intermediate things of football and meshing them all together at once in a small period of time. It was definitely challenging, but I've enjoyed myself the whole time."
Banks had tryouts with Kansas City, San Diego and San Francisco and attended minicamp with Seattle last year before spending the 2012 season with Las Vegas of the United Football League.
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