The St. Louis Rams may be leaving town but they have nothing on their former running back who has left us altogether. Lawrence Phillips, a first round draft pick who racked up arrests at a faster pace than he did touchdowns was found dead in his California prison cell on Wednesday. Phillips, whose picture should be in the dictionary next to the word “thug” had recently made the news after murdering his cellmate last year has now gone on to join him. The word is that it was a suicide but it could just as easily been a prison contract revenge killing for his strangling of Damion Soward last April.

As reported by CNN “Lawrence Phillips, imprisoned ex-NFL rusher, dies in suspected suicide”:

Lawrence Phillips, an imprisoned former NFL running back who was awaiting trial on charges of killing his cellmate last year, died Wednesday morning after being found unresponsive in his prison cell, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

The death of Phillips, 40, is being investigated as a suicide, the department said.

Phillips was a star running back at Nebraska and a first-round pick for the St. Louis Rams in 1996, but lasted in the NFL only three seasons.

He was sent to a California prison in 2008 after being convicted of domestic violence, false imprisonment and vehicle theft charges.

While serving a 31-year sentence, authorities said, he killed his cellmate in April of last year. A trial for that killing was upcoming in Kern County, California.

His former college coach told the Journal Star newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, that he was sad to hear the news about a former player who could have been remembered as an all-time great.

“I saw the potential,” Tom Osborne, who coached Nebraska from 1973 to 1997, told the Journal Star. “I knew this was a guy that could have lived a productive life with the right set of circumstances. For whatever reason it just didn’t happen.

“Lawrence obviously had some demons that were never completely put to rest.”

Phillips was found unresponsive at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday in his cell at the Kern Valley State Prison, authorities said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:27 a.m.

The Corrections Department didn’t say what led investigators to believe he committed suicide.

Lawrence Phillips was the prototype of today’s criminal athlete, a hard rolling, bad-assed, pipe-hittin’, muthafukkin’ nigga with an attitude who was destined for a bad end – he was Aaron Hernandez before Aaron Hernandez and now he has run the wheel route into the great beyond. The state of California will hose out his cage to make room for another animal if it hasn’t already done so.