ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Lawrence Phillips failed a drug test when he played for the St. Louis Rams and was fined about 20 times this season before his release, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today.

The newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said the running back tested positive for a substance other than alcohol. Under NFL rules, a player is only suspended for regular-season games after two positive teats.

Rams coach Dick Vermeil would not discuss Phillips' drug tests.

``I'm really all finished talking about Lawrence Phillips other than the positive sides of the ability that I saw,'' Vermeil said Monday.

The Rams waived the former Nebraska star Thursday.

The move came a day after Phillips skipped a team meeting and practice. Phillips went AWOL after an early-morning conversation with Vermeil, who told him he planned to start Jerald Moore ahead of him Sunday against Carolina.

At Nebraska, Phillips pleaded no contest to assault of a former girlfriend and was sentenced to one year's probation. While on probation he was arrested for drunken driving in California, which led to a 23-day jail sentence in March. In February, he was arrested for swearing at and threatening police officers who came into his hotel room in Omaha, Neb.