Los Angeles: Troubled former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been found dead in a California prison where he was awaiting trial for killing a cellmate, authorities said on Wednesday.

Lawrence Phillips
Lawrence Phillips

Phillips, who had spells with the St Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers before ending his professional career in Canada in 2003, was believed to have committed suicide, a statement from the California Department of Corrections said.
The 40-year-old had been kept in solitary confinement at Kern Valley State Prison after being accused of killing a cellmate in 2013.

He had been jailed in 2008 for 31 years for a range of offenses, including inflicting great bodily harm, domestic violence, false imprisonment and vehicle theft.

Phillips was drafted sixth overall in 1996 by the Rams despite a series of off-field troubles during his college career that deterred other suitors. He was released after two difficult years with the Rams in which he spent 23 days in jail.

He played two games for the Dolphins in 1997 before attempting to relaunch his career in the NFL Europe. He returned to NFL duty with San Francisco in 1999 but was released after angering team chiefs with ill-discipline.

He was widely blamed for missing a block which led to quarterback Steve Young being knocked unconscious and suffering career-ending concussion.