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Lawrence Lamond Phillips (born May 12, 1975 in Little Rock, Arkansasmarker) is a former professional American football and Canadian football running back who has had numerous conflicts with law enforcement. Phillips's trouble with the law and inability to produce in the NFL have led many critics to label him as a bust.. He attended West Covina High School in West Covina, Californiamarker for his freshman and sophomore years. He was a varsity starter both on offense running back and defense outside linebacker as a sophomore. He attended Baldwin Park High School in Baldwin Park, Californiamarker for his junior and senior years, winning back-to-back CIF Championships.

College career

When recruited by the University of Nebraska, Phillips was living in a foster home in southern California.In 1993, his freshman year at Nebraska, Phillips gradually worked his way up the depth chart. He came off the bench to rush for 137 yards and a touchdown in the Huskers' 14-13 win at Pac-10 champion UCLA. In the second half of the 1994 Orange Bowl against Florida Statemarker, Phillips again came off the bench and sparked the Huskers' ground game, carrying 13 times for 64 of the Huskers 183 rushing yards against a formidable Seminole defense. All but one of Phillips's carries came in the fourth quarter, and he also scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. The game established him as the primary running back in the Nebraska offense.

By his sophomore year, Phillips became the focal point of the offense because of injuries to quarterbacks Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer. Phillips tied a school record by rushing for 100 yards or more in 11 straight games in 1994 despite frequently playing against eight- or nine-man defensive fronts and fighting a thumb injury. Phillips's performance in the Orange Bowl was key to Nebraska's securing its undefeated season and national championship in 1994. Against the Miami Hurricanes, who had the top-rated defense in college football that year (with future NFL Pro Bowlers Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis), Phillips had 96 yards on 19 carries, including a 25-yard run that was the longest rushing play the Hurricanes had allowed all season. During the regular season, Phillips ran for 1,722 yards, still a Nebraska record for a sophomore.

The following year, Phillips became an early front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. During the Huskers' win over Michigan Statemarker in their second game of the season, Phillips had 206 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on 22 carries. After two games on the season, he was averaging more than 11 yards per carry and had scored six touchdowns. After the team had returned from East Lansing, Michiganmarker, Phillips was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Kate McEwen, a basketball player for the Nebraska women's team. Phillips was subsequently suspended from the Husker football team by Head Coach Tom Osborne. The case became a source of great controversy and media attention, with perceptions arising that Osborne was coddling a star player by not kicking Phillips off the team permanently. Osborne defended the decision and stated that to abandon Phillips might do more harm than good. Osborne reinstated Phillips for the Iowa State game, although touted freshman Ahman Green continued to start. Phillips also contributed against Kansas and Oklahoma.

Osborne, despite pressure from the national media, named Phillips the starter for the Fiesta Bowl, which pitted No. 1 Nebraska against No. 2 Florida for the national championship. In the game, Phillips rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and also scored a touchdown on a 16-yard reception in the Cornhuskers' 62-24 victory. The performance boosted Phillips's draft stock. With Osborne's encouragement, he decided to turn pro a year early.

Professional Football Career

St. Louis Rams

With his strong performance, Phillips was drafted sixth overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams despite his considerable character issues; indeed, several teams with higher picks openly said they passed on him because of his off-the-field troubles. During the draft, ESPN analyst Joe Theisman stated in regard to Phillips: "Everybody's called him the best player in the draft."

Phillips played the 1996 and part of the 1997 seasons with the Rams before refusing to show for a team meeting and practice in a dispute with coach Dick Vermeil over playing time in November 1997. The Rams cut Phillips, and a teary-eyed Vermeil at the time called Phillips potentially the best running back he had ever coached.

Phillips would be arguably one of the biggest draft day blunders in NFL history, as the Rams had thought so highly of him that the team traded his predecessor, Jerome Bettis, to the Pittsburgh Steelers immediately after drafting Phillips, a trade that would later prove more beneficial to the Steelers. The Rams wouldn't have another feature back until the team traded for Marshall Faulk in 1999.

Miami Dolphins

Phillips then moved on to the Miami Dolphins for two games before being cut again after running for only 44 yards on 18 carries for a 2.4 yard-per-carry average. During this time, Phillips also pleaded no contest to assaulting a woman in a nightclub.

NFL Europe & San Francisco 49ers

Phillips missed the 1998 season before attempting a comeback in 1999; he set NFL Europe offensive records with the Barcelona Dragons (1,021 yards and 14 TDs) before returning stateside with the San Francisco 49ers, but was unable to complete the entire season. Moreover, during his time with the 49ers, Phillips was known for missing a crucial block on all-pro cornerback Aeneas Williams who proceeded to knock out Steve Young during a Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals. This injury would lead to the end of Young's career. In the same game, Phillips ran for a 68-yard touchdown to put the game away 24-10, outrunning Williams to the end zone.


In 2001, Phillips signed with the Florida Bobcats of the Arena Football League but was released after leaving the team without telling his coach.

Phillips then moved on to the Canadian Football League, helping the Montreal Alouettes (1,022 yards and 13 TDs) win the 2002 Grey Cup. Cut in training camp for insubordination by Montreal in 2003, Phillips signed with the Calgary Stampeders (rushing for 486 yards on 107 carries and 1 TD), but was again released for arguing with head coach Jim Barker.

After football

On August 21, 2005, Phillips was arrested for assault after allegedly driving a car into three teenagers, following a dispute with the teens during a pick-up football game in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. At the time of the arrest, Phillips was wanted by the San Diego, Californiamarker, police in connection with two alleged domestic abuse incidents involving a former girlfriend, who claimed that Phillips choked her to the point of unconsciousness during one of the incidents. In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department was seeking Phillips in connection with yet another, separate domestic abuse allegation that had occurred previously in Los Angeles.

In March, 2006, the Associated Press reported that Phillips had been ordered to stand trial on felony assault with a deadly weapon charges stemming from the August 21, 2005, incident. The assigned judge dismissed two counts of child abuse and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, but continued the trial on the more serious charges.

On October 10, 2006, Phillips was found guilty of seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon. On October 3, 2008, Phillips was sentenced to 10 years in a California state prison. While serving that sentence, Philips was convicted in August 2009 for the assault on his then-girlfriend on seven counts, including assault with great bodily injury; false imprisonment; making a criminal threat; and auto theft. For the latter conviction, Phillips faces 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in November 2009.


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