NFL Wire News

Reports: Former RB Phillips suspected of murdering cellmate


The Sports Xchange

Lawrence Phillips, a former first-round running back who is serving a 31-year prison sentence in California, is suspected of murdering his cellmate, according to reports by KGET and NBC San Diego.

Prison officials at Valley State Prison in Delano, Calif., said Monday that they suspect Phillips in the death of Damion Soward, who was found unresponsive in his cell Saturday morning.

Soward, serving a possible life sentence for murder, was one of two inmates murdered at the prison over the weekend.

Phillips was a star running back at Nebraska who was drafted sixth overall in 1996 by the St. Louis Rams. He became the poster boy for failed second chances after many legal run-ins at Nebraska and in the NFL.

He played in just 23 games over four years with the Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, never living up to his supposed on-field promise and continuing his destructive off-field behavior, which included several charges of domestic violence.

In 2005, he was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon after he drove his car into three teenagers after a pickup football game in Los Angeles. In 2008, he began serving a 10-year sentence at Kern Valley. In 2009, he had time added to his sentence for choking a former girlfriend.

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