Probation officers: Ex-NFL players should get prison time

Friday, November 3rd 2006, 8:33 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former NFL and Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, convicted last month for driving a car at a group of young men, ``poses a danger to others'' and should be sent to prison, probation officials advised a judge.

Lawrence faces up to 20 years in prison for his conviction on seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon. A sentencing date has not been set.

In papers filed with Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli on Thursday, probation officials said Phillips has repeatedly behaved violently with no signs of reform, and recommended he be sent to prison.

The 31-year-old Phillips drove onto a field near Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after losing a pickup football game on Aug. 21, 2005. 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, according to the prosecutor.

Phillips became agitated when his team fell behind in the pickup game, prosecutors said. He left the field, accused the boys of stealing from him, then drove onto the field.

Phillips' defense attorney argued that her client's actions were neither willful nor intentional, and said there wasn't sufficient evidence of assault.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about an hour before finding Phillips guilty.

Phillips has a history of trouble with the law, going back a decade to his time as one of the nation's top college football players.

He's awaiting trial on charges he struck his live-in girlfriend in San Diego last fall and strangled her into unconsciousness.

The St. Louis Rams released Phillips for insubordination in 1997 after he played 25 games with them. Phillips signed with the Miami Dolphins later in the 1997 season, but was released after pleading no contest to hitting a woman in a nightclub.

Phillips was the top offensive player in NFL Europe in 1999 after setting league records for rushing and touchdowns with the Barcelona Dragons.

He signed with the San Francisco 49ers later that year, but was released for missing a practice. He also has played in the Canadian Football League.