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Former USC recruit, exonerated convict, to tryout for Redskins

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Former USC recruit, exonerated convict, to tryout for Redskins

Former USC recruit Brian Banks is expected to tryout with the Redskins, according to ESPN.

Banks, a middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, had his football career cut short in 2002 when he plead no contest to a schoolmate's false accusation of rape at the age of 17. Banks spent his next five years in a jail cell.

Last week Banks was completely exonerated of his rape and kidnapping conviction after a ten-year nightmare when his accuser admitting to lying about a charge she made at sixteen years of age.

While fighting his case in 2003 --a battle that cost his mother both her condo and her car-- Banks worked toward completing his high school degree. Despite his grim circumstances, Banks never gave up on himself and his future while in prison. He took college courses. He remained athletic. He focused on life beyond bars.

"Those first few months were the hardest for me," Banks said in an ESPNLA interview. "There were times where I just wanted to give up and give in to the life and environment of prison but it was at that time that I realized: I'm in here for something I didn't do. I'm not even supposed to be here.

"With that in mind I vowed to myself to focus on the betterment of me, regardless of the environment. I wanted to focus on my attitude and outlook of what I wanted to be regardless of what people thought of me or labeled me to be. I just focused on bettering myself and moving forward ... it's gotten me to where I am today: a free man with a good heart and strong mind."

Banks has been working vigorously with personal trainers since October in the hopes of achieving a dream he was forced to shelve for a decade.

"I live by the saying, 'Good things come to those who hustle while they wait,'" explained Banks. "There is nothing in this world that I feel is too difficult for me, or too hard for me to accomplish because the hardest thing for me to do was to become free --and I accomplished that." said Banks. "Everything else is sky's the limit."

With Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, London Fletcher, Lorenzo Alexander and recent additions Keenan Robinson and Jonathan Goff, the Redskins will probably just be looking to add some inexpensive padding to their depth charts at the linebacker position, which could be a great scenario for both the Redskins and Banks.

"I'm confident in what I've done so far," said Banks. "I know that if given the opportunity to show my talents any team would be impressed with what I can do, despite all the things that I've been through these last ten years."

Banks is also expected to workout with the Seahawks, Chiefs and Dolphins.

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Redskins win, but await status of multiple injured players

Redskins win, but await status of multiple injured players

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The Redskins had to play with a patchwork lineup on both sides of the ball as injuries sidelined player after player. They got the win but now they have to deal with the aftermath. Here is a look at what we know from preliminary diagnoses from right after the game.

—It looks like safety DeAngelo Hall has the worst injury. He left the game in the second quarter and the initial examination revealed an ACL tear. If that is the case he will be out for the season and the Redskins will be looking for safety help.

—Center Kory Lichtensteiger left with a calf strain and did not return. Coach Jay Gruden said he will be examined tomorrow. Spencer Long played in his place.

—Left guard Shawn Lauvao exited with an ankle injury and missed most of the second half. Gruden said that this injury is concerning, perhaps because ankle injuries kept him out for 13 games last year. He had a boot on the foot in the locker room.

—Cornerback Bashaud Breeland suffered what Gruden called a high ankle sprain. He was seen in the locker room wearing a boot and moving with the assistance of crutches.   

The Redskins have largely been healthy most of the season but now they will have to deal with some injury adversity. We will learn more about the injuries during Gruden’s news conference on Monday at 3 p.m.

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Five things we learned from the Redskins win over the Giants

Five things we learned from the Redskins win over the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—Here are five things we learned during the Redskins’ 29-27 win over the Giants.

—This is a scrappy bunch. They fell behind, lost players to injuries, and made enough mistakes to lose a couple of games. But they managed to hang in there and all of a sudden with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter they were in the lead. And instead of finding a way to lose when they took a third-quarter lead like they did last week against the Cowboys they found a way to win.

—Quinton Dunbar needs to play more. Dunbar had not taken a defensive snap in the first two games before injuries forced him into this one. He became the first Redskins player to both catch and intercept a pass in the same game since Champ Bailey did it in 2006. He caught a Tress Way pass for 31 yards on a fake punt that set up a Redskins field goal. Later on he made a spectacular one handed interception at the goal line to keep the Giants from scoring at least a field goal, maybe a touchdown. The converted wide receiver showed his ball skills on both plays.

—And they need to find more snaps for Su’a Cravens as well. He sealed the win with a—I hate to repeat the adjective I used for Dunbar but there is no other way to put it—spectacular, diving interception to seal the game for the Redskins. He makes plays.

—The Redskins have a running game they can use in crunch time. After Josh Brown kicked a field goal with 7:59 to play to put the Giants on top 27-26, Matt Jones carried seven times for 36 yards to let the Redskins put it under the 2:00 warning before Dustin Hopkins booted what proved to be the game-winning field goal.  

—Hopkins is a heck of a kicker. If you are going to have issues getting the ball into the end zone you might as well have a reliable kicker. They called on him five times today to get three points on the board and there was never a doubt about any of them. I mean, you’d like to give him an easy game here and there but he’s getting it done.