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Former Auburn great Banks speaks at QB Club

Former Auburn center Tom Banks spoke to the Selma Quarterback Club Monday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.--Daniel Evans

Former Auburn center Tom Banks spoke to the Selma Quarterback Club Monday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.–Daniel Evans

Former Auburn great Tom Banks spoke at the Selma Quarterback Club Monday night at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

Although he was born in Birmingham and still resides in the state of Alabama, he had never been to Selma.

“This is my first trip to Selma,” Banks said. “Coming over the bridge and seeing downtown, I really enjoyed that. We were talking about it on the way over here. This is a beautiful city.”

Banks, who was an All-SEC center at Auburn in 1968 and 1969 and an All-American in 1970, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.

He played under coach Ralph Jordan at Auburn in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s along with Pat Sullivan, who won Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy in 1971.

“I was 13 and Pat was 11 the first time I snapped the ball to him in the toy bowl leagues in Birmingham,” Banks said.

“We knew he was special right then from the start.”

Banks went on to be drafted by the Cardinals, who had yet to move to Phoenix.

He made the NFL’s Pro Bowl four consecutive seasons from 1975 to 1979. His long professional career gave him plenty of stories to tell. In talking about his career Monday, Banks referenced NFL greats Dan Dierdorf, Terry Bradshaw and Walter Payton.

He entered the NFL in a time of big changes. Not only had Monday Night Football just gotten started, but the AFL and NFL had just merged  following the New York Jets upset win over the Batlimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

“There was a lot of changes that we didn’t have a clue about how it would impact the game years later, but it has,” Banks said. “It’s still the greatest game that we have ever conceived.”

Banks was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. The Selma Quarterback Club next meeting is Sept. 29 on father and daughter/son night. Tony Barnhart, known as “Mr. College Football” will be the speaker.