Wednesday’s roundup: Phillips charged with jail slaying

Associated Press

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a central California prison.

Phillips is suspected of killing 37-year-old Damion Soward at Kern Valley State Prison in April. Officials determined Soward was strangled.

The Kern County district attorney’s office says the 40-year-old Phillips faces a first-degree murder charge.

Phillips was once one of the nation’s top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the Rams, Dolphins and 49ers during a three-year NFL career.

Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years. He was convicted of choking his girlfriend and later of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game.

DeBartolo a Hall finalist

Former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. is a finalist for 2016 Hall of Fame class as a contributor.

The election will be Feb. 6, the night before the Super Bowl.DeBartolo, 68, must receive 80 percent of the ballots to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Under DeBartolo’s ownership, the 49ers won five Super Bowls in the 1980s and 1990s. They won at least 10 games in 17 seasons and appeared in 10 conference title games.

When notified he is a finalist, DeBartolo said: “I’m truly humbled. My football life is going through my mind right now.”

Personnel department

Lance Briggs, the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Bears, said he will retire.

Briggs played 12 seasons for the Bears and was a central performer on some of the best defenses in the league.

... The Panthers signed backup quarterback Derek Anderson to a two-year extension that will keep him with the team through 2017.

... The Bears acquired tight end Khari Lee from the Texans for a 2017 sixth-round pick. They Bears also waived tight end Blake Annen, who played in five games last year.

... The Giants re-signed kicker Chris Boswell with veteran Josh Brown hurt. Boswell will play tonight.

... The Saints placed veteran linebacker Anthony Spencer on injured reserve. They also put rookie cornerback P.J. Williams, a third-round pick, on injured reserve, and waived safety Vinnie Sunseri, linebacker Ronald Powell and receiver Nick Toon with undisclosed injuries.

The Saints had hoped Spencer, a former Pro Bowl player, would become a significant contributor. He spent his first eight seasons with Dallas, where he played three seasons under current Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

New Orleans also cut veteran fullback Eric Lorig and claimed former Miami defensive back SammySeamster off waivers.