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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Miami Dolphins running back Lawrence Phillips was found dead in his jail cell early Wednesday morning.

Phillips, 40, was facing murder charges at Kern Valley State Prison in California.

The death is being investigated as a suspected suicide.

Doctors pronounced Phillips dead at a nearby hospital after he was found unresponsive in his cell during a routine security check.

The former football star was facing the possible death penalty in the alleged murder of his former cellmate, Damion Soward, at the same prison.

Soward was found unresponsive in the cell the two men shared in April of last year.

The coroner’s report stated that Soward died of strangulation.

According to the incident report, what was believed to be blood was found on Soward, Phillips’ white t-shirt and several other items inside the cell.

Phillips was serving a 32-year prison sentence for inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, false imprisonment, corporal injury to a spouse, felony assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle theft at the time of Soward’s death.

Phillips enjoyed a very successful collegiate career at the University of Nebraska was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

He played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers from 1996-1999.

Phillips played in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes in 2002 and the Calgary Stampeders in 2003 before his career ended due to off the field issues with both teams.

 

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