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Thursday, July 24, 2008
Angry Fulmer confirms he was subpoenaed

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Upon further review, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has found the subpoena he was served Thursday at the SEC media days.

Alabama attorneys representing disassociated Alabama booster Wendell Smith in a defamation suit against the NCAA want to question Fulmer under oath about his role in the investigation of Alabama, which ultimately landed the Crimson Tide on probation earlier this decade.

Fulmer, who initially denied several different times to several different media members that he'd been served a subpoena, issued a scathing statement Thursday night about the whole thing. He insisted that he wasn't trying to mislead anybody.

Here is Fulmer's statement in full:

"I do have to be a little bit careful -- a lot more than I'd like to be.

"I was getting out of the car and was tossed a piece of paper that I picked up, stuck it in with a whole bunch of things that I had been reading on my way in from the airport and handed it to (associate athletic director for media relations) Bud Ford to put in his briefcase and forgot about it. I got a bunch of questions (from the media) about a subpoena that I hadn't seen.

"I wasn't expecting a subpoena but maybe every time I go to Birmingham I probably will be expecting a subpoena. As it turns out, it's some sort of subpoena to do something, and I will let the attorneys all handle that. The issue is [that] it's all crap and they are trying to use the press trying to use a day that's very special to the Southeastern Conference for players and the coaches.

"Because they can't win legally, they are trying to play the game in the press. I am more than a little PO'd about any part of that. It's sad that a few publicity hunting lawyers in one of our sister states want to keep open a chapter of history that has long since been closed and, as far as I'm concerned, will stay closed. Obviously this is an effort to distract our football team or distract me in some way. The last time this happened, we won the division with two freshman quarterbacks. We won't be distracted. I had a good conversation with [SEC commissioner Mike Slive] about it.

"About being in Birmingham, I wasn't trying to mislead anybody. I hadn't looked at anything."

After digesting what has been a circus of a day with all this Fulmer/subpoena situation, I've had a chance to talk with several of the parties involved.

Check back a little later, and I'll do my best to put it all in perspective.