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USF Bulls player Joel Miller has no plans to sue ex-coach Jim Leavitt

TAMPA — USF walk-on Joel Miller says he has no intention of filing a civil lawsuit against his former Bulls coach Jim Leavitt.

"I want to end any further speculation regarding the incident with my former coach," Miller said Thursday in a statement released through his attorney, Barry Cohen. "I am not filing a lawsuit."

Leavitt, 53, was fired Jan. 8 after the university concluded "serious violations" of its conduct code had occurred when an investigation ruled Leavitt grabbed Miller by the throat and slapped him twice in the face during halftime of a Nov. 21 home game against Louisville, lied to investigators and interfered with the investigation.

Cohen hasn't said anything publicly since Jan. 14, when he publicly demanded an apology from Leavitt, which the former coach declined to provide.

Leavitt's attorney, Wil Florin, issued a statement Thursday: "From the beginning, Coach Leavitt has stated his fondness for Joel Miller and all of his players. In that regard, nothing has changed. Our issues are and always have been with the way Coach Leavitt was treated by USF."

Florin said he requested USF release full transcripts of the witness accounts collected during the investigation but USF declined.

"I am not the one seeking money over this incident or needing friendly 'witnesses' in the pursuit of millions," Miller, 21, said in his statement, referring to Leavitt's potential lawsuit against USF. "I sought counsel for guidance, just like every other party did. Time has passed. Most people understand what happened, and I am moving forward to more important things in my life."

Miller, a junior running back/special teams player out of Wharton High, remains part of the football program, which is scheduled to begin spring practice March 16.

"I do not want this past situation to be any kind of distraction for our team, coaches, supporters or me," he said. "I am excited about playing for Coach (Skip) Holtz. … The atmosphere on this team has never been better."

USF Bulls player Joel Miller has no plans to sue ex-coach Jim Leavitt 03/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:32pm]

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