Clemens denies using steroids under oath

WASHINGTON - Roger Clemens' most meaningful denial of drug use so far was also the most well-guarded.

The star pitcher gave a sworn deposition for about five hours to congressional lawyers behind closed doors Tuesday, addressing his former personal trainer's allegations. And this time, Clemens was under oath.

'I just want to thank the committee, the staff that I just met with. They were very courteous,' the seven-time Cy Young Award winner said, wearing a pinstriped gray suit instead of a pinstriped New York Yankees uniform. 'It was great to be able to tell them what I've been saying all along - that I've never used steroids or growth hormone.'

Tuesday's deposition was the first time the seven-time Cy Young Award winner faced legal risk if he were to make false statements. Home run king Barry Bonds, another player linked to steroid use, was indicted in November on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for telling a grand jury in 2003 that he didn't knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs.

In the 11/2 months since former Senate majority leader George Mitchell released his report on drug use in baseball, Clemens strongly and repeatedly denied what his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, said - in statements by his lawyers, in a written statement, in a video statement, during a taped TV interview and in a live news conference.

Clemens' private testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform came one day after his Yankees teammate and workout partner, Andy Pettitte, gave a deposition to committee staff for 2 1/2 hours.