Friday, July 30, 2010
Kiffin's take on filing of lawsuit 'absurd'
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans coach Jeff Fisher dismissed Lane Kiffin's assessment that the two had somehow clarified the issues that led the team to sue Kiffin and USC over the departure of assistant coach Kennedy Pola.
Pola, Tennessee's running backs coach, left the Titans last weekend to become Kiffin's offensive coordinator. Fisher blasted Kiffin for failing to follow protocol, and the Titans sued on the grounds that Kiffin and the school enticed Pola to breach his contract.
Told Kiffin had suggested that Fisher softened his stance, Fisher responded with a dumbfounded expression.
"Softened my stance? Um, no," Fisher said. "What happened happened ... I had one conversation with him, Saturday."
Kiffin also said the Titans acted at least in part as a PR move because he's unpopular in Tennessee for having left the University of Tennessee for the USC job after only one season in Knoxville.
"I didn't see the comments but I heard there were some comments to the effect that this may have been a geographic issue. That was brought to my attention," Fisher said. "That's absurd. I mean, we're talking about two different entities here.
"We're talking about an NFL team and an action that took place last weekend and a whole different set of circumstances that took place months ago surrounding a tremendous educational institution in the University of Tennessee. So they are two completely different issues, and how one could combine the two is absurd to me."
Fisher said he's got no bad feelings toward USC, where he went to school and played football.
"It's not between me and USC. My name's not on that lawsuit," he said. "I have tremendous respect for the university, I always have and I always will, for their leadership and everything."
Paul Kuharsky covers the AFC South for ESPN.com.