Lawrence Phillips convicted of assault, faces prison

LOS ANGELES -- Former NFL and Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips was convicted Tuesday of seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon for driving a car at a group of young men, injuring three.

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.

The three who were struck sustained "severe bumps and bruises and cuts," Deputy District Attorney Todd Hicks said.

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

Phillips faces up to 20 years in state prison. A sentencing date is expected to be set Oct. 19.

The prosecutor told jurors that Phillips became agitated when his team fell behind in the pickup game. He left the field, accused the boys of stealing from him and drove onto the field at a high rate of speed, Hicks said.

Defense attorney Leslie Ringold argued that her client's actions were neither willful nor intentional and said there was "woefully insufficient evidence of assault."

She said the car Phillips was driving first hit the front wheel of a bike and fishtailed.

Phillips was arrested that day and has remained jailed since.

He 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.

The St. Louis Rams released him 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 has also played in the Canadian Football League.