Former NFL first-round pick Lawrence Phillips is dead at the age of 40.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released a statement Wednesday announcing Phillips’ death. He was found unresponsive in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison early on Wednesday morning and transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Prison officials suspect that Phillips took his own life.
Phillips was serving a 31-year sentence for inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and vehicle theft and was also facing a murder charge related to the death of his cellmate in 2013. Because of that charge, Phillips was in an Administrative Segregation Unit in a cell by himself at the time of his death.
Phillips was the sixth overall pick of the 1996 draft by the Rams after starring at the University of Nebraska. He entered the league with a history of off-field issues, including an arrest for assaulting his girlfriend, and those issues continued before and after his 35-game NFL career that also saw him spend time with the 49ers and Dolphins.