Anybody else do a double take when they saw that list of former Chiefs players suing the team for head injuries?
Because lo and behold, smack in the middle of that Gang of Five, stood former Chiefs star and respected attorney and man-about-town Joe Phillips.
Phillips is the defensive tackle that went from hero to zero and dropped from sight seven or so years ago. Here’s what Kansas City Star sports reporter Randy Covitz wrote about Phillips in July of 2006:
“Today Joe Phillips is a wanted man.
“Phillips smiling visage, the one that flashed across Kansas City television screens in the 1990s, has morphed into a police mug shot — his once-reddish goatee turned to scraggly gray stubble. His face has been posted on a law enforcement Web site under the heading ‘Have you seen this individual?’
“Phillips, 43, is a fugitive from justice in Oregon. He has been arrested twice on charges of driving under the influence during the past two years and once for an outstanding bench warrant for failure to comply with the terms of probation stemming from the first DUI in January 2005 in Clackamas County, Ore.
“He was on the lam — or ‘on abscond’ — from November 2005 until May 2006, when he was arrested in Portland, Ore. He was transferred from a jail in Portland to Clackamas County, but was set free because of jail overcrowding. Two days before his June 20 arraignment, Phillips was picked up on another DUI charge while driving a motorcycle in Lincoln City, Ore.
“Phillips was released pending a hearing and was to appear in court June 30 in Clackamas County. He never showed. And he’s been missing ever since.”
That was then…
Today Phillips is 50 and has come out of what passes for hiding to seek compensation from the Chiefs for something now being called “post-concussion syndrome.”
That said, what inquiring minds really want to know right now is what the heck happened to Phillips and what’s his state of affairs today? because at last blush – as Covitz so eloquently put it – “How does a man who stands 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 315 pounds disappear? He has no known job, permanent address or phone number.”
Another unanswered is whether an altogether non-football head injury could have something to do with Phillips particular syndrome?
Because, as has been reported, in September of 1990 Phillips was allegedly attacked by three men as he and “an unidentified female friend” were walking to his car from a California nightclub.
“A witness told police that someone in a car made a remark about the woman,” Covitz wrote. “The comment led to an exchange of words between Phillips and the men, and it quickly escalated into a brawl. Phillips nearly died in the fight. He suffered a skull fracture, a broken nose, three broken ribs, and a broken facial bone near an eye. A police officer testified Phillips had a blood alcohol level of about 0.23 — nearly three times the legal limit of .08 for drivers in California at the time.”
Get that? Nearly died, a skull fracture.
Covitz also reported that Phillips had fallen on hard times financially. So it’s not surprising he wants a piece of the action in a potential settlement with the Chiefs.
And the Star wasn’t the only media to document Phillips fall.
An HBO Real Sports segment in 2007 that zeroed in on the wives of former NFL players going through tough times, included Phillips now ex-wife Cynthia Phillips,who in the words of Deadspin “painted a very scary picture of the former popular defensive lineman. Apparently, he’s out of hiding and he’s now got his own creepy, creepy, unnerving blog.”
Deadspin then posted the following excerpt from Phillips alleged blog:
“While I was doing everythng to save my family, I was accused of drugs and alcohol abuseI said fine you say I am crazy or on drugs I do what ever it takes. I sought extensive professional advice. It turned out to be a good thing, they could vouch for me, my actions and my stability. One analyst after being involved in a deposition and review of the case and the facts said alcohol may have kept me sane! I was never diagnosed by them with anything other than depression.“I went so far as to have myself tested before and after ever visitation with my children. I t to was a good thing as we used the tests in court when she accuse me ob being on drugs during a visitation with my children. With over 2 and 1/2 years of random testing, testing before and after seeing my children at times and sites of Cindy’s chosing I never tested positive for anything.—nothing—ever—inspite of this she continues to make allegations. I ask people to look at the facts not just her assertions.”
A check of the blog shows no further posts have been added since June 2008.
That was the year the news and stories about Joe Phillips pretty much dried up and blew away. Until that is, this week with the filing against the Chiefs.