In the October 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated, former NFL agent Josh Luchs alleges that he paid Banks 'several hundred dollars a month', while Banks was at Michigan State, a serious violation of NCAA eligibility rules if true.
Tony Banks was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams and soon found himself the starter as a rookie. He lit it up with big numbers but would also end up setting a record for fumbles that first season, with 21. Due to high expectations, based on his physical gifts, as well as off-field controversy, Banks soon found himself the target of criticism from the St. Louis fans and media. After three seasons with the Rams he was not re-signed, and he signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent.
Banks accumulated the best statistics of his career with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens started Scott Mitchell and Stoney Case early in 1999, but neither worked out. So the team turned to Banks. In 1999, he threw a career-high 17 TDs next to only 8 interceptions. He also mustered 2,136 passing yards. Banks played well in early 2000, but his fumbles and INTs cost the team two games in October. He was replaced by backup Trent Dilfer, who would remain the starter through the team's Super Bowl XXXV win. He finished 2000 with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and was released in the off-season.
Leading into the 2001 season, Banks was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to replace the recently released and later retired Troy Aikman; however, on August 15, 2001, Banks was abruptly released by the Cowboys who chose instead to go with rookie Quincy Carter.
Later that year, Tony Banks signed with the Washington Redskins during Marty Schottenheimer's one year tenure as head coach. While with the Redskins, he became the first quarterback to follow an 0-5 start with 5 straight wins. He was released after the season.
Tony Banks signed with the Houston Texans. He was the second-string quarterback for the Houston Texans behind David Carr. During his four-year tenure with the team, Banks received minimal playing time. On February 28, 2006, Banks was released by the Houston Texans. He never returned to the NFL.