Who was Phillip Adams? Former NFL player identified as suspect in South Carolina shooting, per reports


Phillip Adams was an NFL journeyman, going back-and-forth between coasts with six teams over a five-year career that ended following the 2015 season. 

Adams was identified as the suspect who shot and killed five people in his South Carolina hometown on Wednesday before killing himself, according to a report by the Associated Press. Prominent Rock Hill, South Carolina, doctor Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara Lesslie and their two grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, were pronounced dead at the scene, which was the family home. A man working at the home, James Lewis, 38, was also found dead. 

Adams reportedly shot himself shortly after midnight and was found at a nearby home. The 32-year-old was born in Rock Hill in July of 1988 and attended the local high school. In 2004 his team won the Class 4A Division I state championship and he attended South Carolina State University two hours to the south. The defensive back was named first-team All-MEAC with 48 tackles and a team-high 11 passes defended his senior year in 2009. 

Adams’ NFL career spans six teams

The San Francisco 49ers drafted Adams in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL draft with the 224th overall pick. He played 15 games with 13 total tackles (nine solo) at cornerback his rookie season.  

In Week 16, Adams suffered a gruesome leg injury and broken ankle while blocking the opening second-half kickoff. It required several screws to be inserted into his leg. The 49ers released him at the start of the next regular season, on Sept. 3, 2011, and he was picked up three weeks later by the New England Patriots. 

The team waived and re-signed him a few times that fall. He played in six games and notched his first interception. He played one game for the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the season in December. 

The Oakland Raiders signed Adams in September of 2012 and he stayed there for two seasons, playing in all but one game and starting four. He had two interceptions, six passes defended, a fumble recovery for 26 yards and 45 total tackles. 

He also suffered two concussions as one of nine Raiders players to total 12 separate concussions in 2012, per PBS Frontline. The Raiders reported the most in total of any NFL team that year. 

He returned to the East coast to play one season with the New York Jets and another with the Atlanta Falcons. Over his five-year career he had five interceptions and 128 total tackles over 78 games. 

Adams faced assault, traffic charges

Adams was charged with simple assault and battery in 2009, per the Charlotte Observer. He was not convicted. In 2016, after his final season in the NFL, he was arrested for carrying a concealed gun in Charlotte, the Post and Courier reported.

Earlier this month he was convicted of driving with a suspended license and failure to maintain proof of insurance, among other traffic charges, per the Charlotte Observer.

Adams was reportedly being treated by Robert Lesslie, an emergency room doctor well known in the Rock Hill area. Lesslie was also certified in occupational medicine and founded two urgent care centers in the area. 

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