Ex-NFL running back Lawrence Phillips found dead in prison

In this 2005 photo, former National Football League running back Lawrence Phillips is shown in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Phillips was found dead in his California prison cell early Wednesday. LA Times via AP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California prison officials say former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been found dead in his prison cell, and they suspect suicide.

Officials say guards at Kern Valley State Prison found the 40-year-old Phillips unresponsive in his cell shortly after midnight Wednesday. He was pronounced dead around 1:30 a.m.

He had been in segregation since April 2015 after he was suspected of killing his cellmate.

A Kern County judge had ruled Tuesday that there was enough evidence to try Phillips in the death of 37-year-old Damion Soward.

Phillips played for the St. Louis Rams before being released in 1997. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

He was convicted of choking his girlfriend and driving his car into three teens in 2005.

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