Lawrence Phillips, Nebraska
The story of Lawrence Phillips is one of the most unique in the history of sports. He was a problem child who couldn’t avoid trouble from day one as well as an electrifying runner while at the University of Nebraska. In three seasons with the Cornhuskers, he totaled more than 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. But his college career was mired in controversies that included accepting gifts from a sports agent to assaulting his girlfriend.
For some reason, that didn’t stop the St. Louis Rams from selecting him with the 6th-overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft. To make matters worse, the Rams traded away Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis to make room for Phillips. Between 1997 and 1999, Phillips bounced between the Rams, Dolphins, and 49ers, with each team giving up on him because of his attitude and mounting legal incidents. His involvement with the criminal justice system is too extensive to list here, but while serving a long-term sentence, Phillips killed himself in prison in January 2016. His family donated his brain so it could be examined for possible CTE.