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Phinsider Question Of The Day 03/20/2021

Lawrence Phillips

So in the past couple of weeks, we once again saw the Miami Dolphins take a shot on a troubled player and once again it wound up as a swing and a miss. Miami traded basically nothing, a 7th this year for a 7th next year in the draft for a player that was a first-round pick just last year. Isaiah Wilson is a player with a troubled background who they thought that they could maybe turn around and eventually make a functioning professional out of. As noted in Kevin’s post HERE things did not go as planned and nothing was gained but nothing was lost either and we can now just move on like it never happened. When this move happened I saw plenty of positive responses due to the fact that we were not going to lose a single thing if it did not work out while others were grousing because they did not think that Miami should be wasting their time on a player that did not seem to care.

I suspect that with each of these kinds of transactions that occur that both sides have a point. These moves that are made where you know some coach is thinking “Hey I can fix this guy!”, almost always have some risk, although the Dolphins did a good job with this one, in theory not losing a single thing in the transaction. There have been others where we traded something of true value for a player and got nothing in return but a headache that we had to cut. We have drafted headaches as well that have not worked out, for those of you that can remember Cecil Collins. Miami drafted the talented kid in the fifth round, much lower than he would have gone had he not had trouble in college where he had broken into two different residences. He began the season with Miami as the starter before, surprise, surprise, breaking into yet another residence.

Collins, after being kicked off the squad at LSU in college and then booted from the NFL after his short stint with the Dolphins then spent 13 years in prison. Collins for his part seems to have turned his life around and has even been welcomed back into the LSU family having been seen on the sidelines during more than one game in recent years. He met and married a woman while in prison and also found religion and from everything, I can find on the guy now he just lives a nice normal family-man kind of life with his wife and kids. I don’t know what he is doing as far as employment but I assume that he just has a normal job and given where he could have wound up I’m sure that’s more than okay with him. He has even stated that going to prison may have been the best thing to ever happen to him which shows an immense level of maturity knowing that he needed something to smack him in the head and tell him hey get your s**t together. I applaud anyone that can come back from the brink and get their life back together and contribute to society so a huge good for him from me!

There there is the other running back that Jimmy Johnson took a chance on. It did not go as well as Collin’s experiment, well it ended the same exact way for the Dolphins but not for him or society on the whole. Coming out of college Lawrence Phillips was the best back by a mile after being the focal point for the Nebraska Cornhuskers offense that won the national championship. Prior to being allowed to play in the national championship game, he had violently attacked his former girlfriend, an incident that angered even many Nebraska backers. These same backers did not want him representing the team in any way but then head coach Tom Osborn made a decision based clearly on winning over right from wrong and on the roster he remained. He was then drafted number-sixth overall by the Rams in the draft. The Rams knew that he was a major character risk along with his amazing playing ability but still believed that he was worth the risk with such a high draft pick when many had him rated as the top talent at any position in the draft that year.

The Rams, thinking that they had something so huge in Phillips even made the move of trading Jerome Bettis away to the Pittsburgh Steelers that same day. Things did not go well with Phillips and the Rams, he spent 23 days in jail for various stupid incidents while with the Rams and would routinely show up to practice still drunk from the night before and even collapsed during one practice following a night of partying too hard before he had to be at practice. He was routinely seen out in the bars around St Louis until 4 am before having to report the team facilities early the next morning. After two seasons and declining production, the Rams cut ties with Phillips. Then Rams head coach Dick Vermeil reached out to his friend, Jimmy Johnson, who by that time was the Dolphins head coach, to ask him to give Phillips one more chance. Long story short Miami did sign him and he lasted all of two games before pleading guilty to assaulting yet another woman at which point Miami released him.

Phillips continued to bounce around including stints in NFL Europe, the San Francisco 49ers, the Arena Football League, and the Canadian Football League. Following his time in football Phillips could not stay out of trouble and in 2008 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the state of California. While in prison he was again convicted for a previous assault charge extending his total time to 31 years in prision. Phillips’ story had possibly one of the worst endings of any former NFL player. He murdered his then cellmate in 2015 turning his sentence into a death penalty sentence before he took his own life in 2016. So much talent down the drain. You know when a kid has the kind of talent of a Collins or a Phillips or more recently Wilson, that everyone around them and all the coaches that they come in contact with will do everything they can to help the kid turn his life around. Some just, for whatever reason, never seem to be able to grasp or find the right path and some others do or have to go through hell, like 13 years in prison to find their way to the other side.

So tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is how do you feel about the Miami Dolphins continuing to take chances on guys like this? Are you okay with it so long as we don’t give up anything or would you just rather never mess with guys like this at all? I for one believe that everyone deserves a second chance but would put any kid with a troubled past through one hell of a psych evaluation before considering giving them even a single dollar or integrating them with my roster where they could potentially become a cancer.

But what I think doesn't matter, this is your post so give us your thoughts and opinions below-

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