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Ex-Dolphins running back Lawrence Phillips dies

Officials suspect suicide was cause of death

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Former Miami Dolphins running back Lawrence Phillips was pronounced dead at a California hospital Wednesday. He was 40. 

A prison guard at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California, found him unconscious during a security check. He had been held under administrative segregation.

Philips struggled with anger. He was accused of choking his cellmate Damion Soward to death April 12, 2015. Soward was related to NFL wide receiver R. Jay Soward.

"I feel myself very close to snapping," Phillips wrote in a letter dated March 2015. "My anger grows daily as I have become fed up with prison." 

Phillips was a serving a 31-year-4 month sentence on charges of vehicle theft, false imprisonment and domestic violence. He was accused of choking his then girlfriend and driving a Honda Accord onto a field and into three teenagers near the Los Angeles Coliseum.

When he was a star Nebraska running back, he was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Kate McEwen, a Nebraska basketball player. He allegedly grabbed her by the hair and dragged her down three flights of stairs. 

St. Louis Rams selected him sixth in the 1996 NFL draft.  He played for the Miami Dolphins in 1997 until he was accused of assaulting a woman at a nightclub in Plantation.

He later played for the Barcelona Dragons in 1998, the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 and ended his career with the Calgary Stempeders, after he was named the Canadian Football League All-Star in 2002. He was arrested Aug. 21, 2005, after a pick-up fooball game in Los Angeles.