And so in the end, Lawrence Phillips leaves us the way we always knew he would: receiving up to 20 years in prison for running into three kids with his car after a pickup football game. The former Cornhuskers /Rams /Dolphins /49ers /Bobcats /Alouettes /Stampeders /Dragons running back was convicted in Los Angeles on Tuesday of seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon, for driving a car into a group of young men, injuring three, in August 2005. He has been jailed since then. Sentencing is set for Oct. 19.
The 31-year-old Phillips drove onto a field near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after losing a pickup football game. He struck two boys, ages 14 and 15, and a 19-year-old man, and narrowly missed four others between 15 and 24 years old. The prosecutor told jurors that Phillips became agitated when his team fell behind in the pickup game. He left the field, accused the boys of stealing from him and drove onto the field at a high rate of speed.
How will we remember Phillips? For leading the Cornhuskers to two straight national titles in 1995 and '96 (running for 165 yards and two touchdowns in a 62-24 Fiesta Bowl win over Florida in the latter)? Or for his hobbies, among them dragging an ex-girlfriend by her hair down a flight of stairs (at Nebraska), being arrested three times and spending 23 days in jail (Rams), striking a woman who refused to dance with him in a nightclub (Dolphins) or assaulting his girlfriend in 2000 (not under contract)? Ironically, we will remember Phillips for something he didn't do. In the Monday Night game in Tempe, Ariz., on on Sept. 27, 1999, Phillips missed a blocking assignment — some say on purpose — allowing Arizona free safety Aeneas Williams a free lane to blindside Steve Young. The 49ers quarterback sustained a career-ending concussion on the play.
Phillips allegedly pawned one of his Nebraska championship rings at a Las Vegas pawn shop recently. For the record, the price of a squandered career and a wasted life these days is 20 bucks.
By the way, no word on whether Dick Vermeil's going to drive him to prison.