Then-17-year-old high school football star Brian Banks thought he was on the path to the NFL when his life took a horrific turn. Banks was falsely accused of rape by Wanetta Gibson and spent five years in prison. A year ago, he was exonerated and has now been signed by the Atlanta Falcons. He told Martha MacCallum his amazing comeback story moments ago on America’s Newsroom. After finishing his sentence, Banks was shocked to receive a Facebook friend request from Gibson. He thought it was a “sick joke,” but when he sent her a private message, she responded by saying she hoped the two could “let bygones be bygones.”

Banks arranged a meeting with her and was able to record Gibson admitting that she had made up the story. Banks told Martha, “Here was a once in a lifetime opportunity to try and get the truth. Meeting her was very difficult for me, but I knew this was the only opportunity for me so instead of me actually thinking and listening to what was said … I chose to let the video do all the recording and the listening for me. I just wanted the truth.” Throughout his time in prison, Banks never completely gave up on playing football, saying, “I never felt that I couldn’t do it, I just felt that I had to put certain dreams and goals to the side in order to take care of certain situations that were in front of me – such as a five year prison sentence.” If he doesn’t make the team, Banks says he’ll be fine. “I’ve already won; I’ve secured my freedom. My mother is back to herself […] We are healing as a family. There’s so much more to me than football. There’s so much more to me than a wrongful conviction. Neither defines me as a person.” Watch the inspiring interview: