Former coach told Phillips he was out of chances

Updated: August 24, 2005, 12:11 AM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Troubled former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips contacted Tom Osborne recently about getting back into professional football.

The former Cornhuskers coach, now a U.S. congressman, said Tuesday that Phillips called him about two or three months ago.

Osborne said he told Phillips, who starred on Osborne's 1994 and '95 national champion Nebraska teams, that he probably had used up all of his chances.

"I think he pretty well had run the string out," Osborne said.

Phillips was charged Tuesday in Los Angeles withi multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two days after prosecutors say he drove into three teenagers who argued with him following a pickup football game. He was charged with seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of child abuse and one count of hit and run.

If convicted, Phillips faces up to 13 years and four months in prison.

At the time of his arrest, Phillips was wanted on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend.

Osborne said Phillips told him that he had been helping coach high school football.

"It sounded like he was getting things on track," Osborne said. "I'm just really embarrassed and sorry for the people that he hurt. I did everything I could to help him, but apparently it wasn't enough."

Phillips has a history of high-profile legal trouble dating back to his days at Nebraska. In 1995, Phillips pleaded no contest to assaulting a girlfriend.

Osborne came under intense scrutiny for allowing Phillips back on to the team after the running back served a suspension.

The St. Louis Rams drafted Phillips sixth overall in 1996 despite his trouble at Nebraska. The Ram released Phillips in 1997 for insubordination.

Phillips joined Miami later in 1997 but was released after pleading no contest to striking a woman in a nightclub.

Phillips signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 but was later released for missing a practice. Phillips was dropped by two Canadian Football League teams for behavioral problems.

In 2003, he was charged in Quebec with assault and sexual assault.

Phillips was not able to appear in court on the charges after Canada denied him entry because of his criminal history.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press