FRESNO (CBS/AP) — Former San Francisco 49ers running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central California prison.
Prison officials said Monday that Phillips’ cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison was found lifeless over the weekend and later pronounced dead.
Phillips, 39, was once one of the nation’s top college football players at Nebraska. Aside from the 49ers, Phillips also played for the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. He also played in NFL Europe, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League.
Phillips was considered by many the best overall player heading into the NFL 1996 draft, but he fell to the Rams with the number six pick following his suspension for an alleged assault on his girlfriend. His career was marked by frequent run-ins with coaches and off-field problems, including accusations of assault and brief stays in jail.
As a 49er, his most memorable play may have a missed block that allowed a blindside hit on quarterback and Hall of Famer Steve Young. The concussion Young suffered on the play basically ended his career – Young never took another snap.
Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years after being convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and later that year of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t clear if Phillips has an attorney.
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