Lawrence Phillips, a former running back who played at Nebraska and in the NFL, was found unresponsive in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison in California today, according to a press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Phillips was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. He was 40.


Prison officials are investigating Phillips’s death as a suicide.

Phillips was already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple felonies when Damion Soward, his cellmate, was found strangled last April. Phillips was charged with first-degree murder in September.


Correction (10:46 p.m.): According to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Phillips was found responsive in his cell, not dead. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that.

Photo: AP

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