Former Cleveland Browns star Chip Banks is in serious condition according to ESPN. The former four-time Pro Bowl linebacker was one of three men with gunshot wounds according to the outlet, with Atlanta police responding to the call Wednesday. One victim, Charles Pharms Jr., was declared dead at the scene, while Banks and Bennie C. Harris were left in serious condition.
The shooting, first reported by TMZ, noted that both surviving victims were alert before being transported to a local hospital. Atlanta police spokeswoman Marla Rooker added that the police investigation is ongoing. "Detectives are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident," she said. The early indication is that the shooting was a targeted hit, but the specific target is unknown.
Banks was a No. 3 draft pick in the 1982 draft, going to the Cleveland Browns where he'd be named Rookie of the Year and earning four Pro Bowl selections during his tenure with the team. He then moved to the San Diego Chargers in 1987 before closing out his career with the Indianapolis Colts. Banks had 46 career sacks and a career-high 11 sacks in 1985. Colts owner Jim Irsay posted a touching message on the former player on Twitter.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Chip Banks, and hope he has a speedy recovery. Chip was a force as an NFL player, and my favorite game memory was our 14-3 victory over the Browns in the '92 opener in which Chip had four sacks for us---and one amazing INT," Irsay wrote.
Fans of the Browns star sent their prayers and well wishes on social media, hoping for a positive outcome to the horrible situation. More weighed in after the news began to spread over the weekend.
Prayers for Chip Banks...one of my favorite Browns of all time. He was the victim of a shooting in Georgia and according to TMZ sports is in serious condition. I took this photo at Training Camp at Lakeland back in the day. pic.twitter.com/L3se7pTaig— Joe Ranyak (@FoxBull330) August 14, 2020
"Some of my first memories watching the Browns as a kid are of Chip Banks making plays," one fan wrote. "[Praying] for Chip & his family", another added. No updates have been provided on Banks' condition yet but many are hopeful that he pulls through.