New York Sounding indignant and defiant in his first interview since his former personal trainer accused him of using steroids, Roger Clemens seemed to set up a confrontation with Brian McNamee in front of Congress if the pair testify under oath at a Jan. 16 hearing.
Clemens said during a segment broadcast on CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday night that he might be willing to take a lie-detector test and was "shocked" close friend Andy Pettitte used human growth hormone. He said - again - that he probably will retire.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, a fiery look in his eyes and stubble on his face, told CBS's Mike Wallace that he would have spoken with baseball drug investigator George Mitchell had he been aware McNamee accused him of using steroids and HGH.
Clemens, the most prominent player implicated in last month's Mitchell Report, steadfastly maintained his innocence and called McNamee's allegations "totally false."
"If he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth," said Clemens, who wore a lavender button-down shirt during the interview, taped Dec. 28 at his home in Katy, Texas.
"I thought it was an impassioned, disingenuous and desperate plea," said Earl Ward, McNamee's primary lawyer.
Said Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin: "Anyone not persuaded by that interview is not a well person."
On Friday, when the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform invited Clemens and McNamee to testify, the pair spoke by telephone, an individual close to the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity because public comments weren't authorized. The conversation first was reported Sunday by Newsday.
The individual would not say what was discussed.
One of the few revelations in the much-hyped interview came when Clemens was asked whether he could conceivably take a lie detector test.
"Yeah," he answered. "I don't know if they're good or bad."
Clemens is scheduled to hold a news conference Monday in Houston, part of his campaign to clear his name. Next up is the congressional hearing. Pettitte, former Yankees teammate Chuck Knoblauch and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who allegedly supplied McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs, also were asked to appear before the committee.
Lawyers for Clemens and McNamee have said their clients are willing to testify but Hardin wouldn't commit to the date.
Richard Emery, another of McNamee's lawyers, said he would welcome testimony from Clemens.
"If Congress calls him, he pretty much has to take the Fifth, and if he takes the Fifth, nobody will ever believe him again and all this effort has gone down the drain," Emery said. "And if he doesn't take the Fifth, it's very hard to imagine that a prosecutor isn't going to pursue this. So I think he's put himself in a terrible corner."
Clemens said his lawyer advised him not to speak with Mitchell.
"If I would've known what this man, what Brian McNamee (had) said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it," Clemens said.
Only two active players, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas, spoke with Mitchell.
In excerpts of the CBS interview that were released Thursday, Clemens said McNamee, his former personal trainer, injected him with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine. In the full 14-minute broadcast, Clemens also said he was given an injection of toradol under the supervision of the New York Yankees.
McNamee told Mitchell he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH about 16-to-21 times during 1998, 2000 and 2001 - before baseball players and owners agreed to ban performance-enhancing substances.
Clemens said the cost of litigation had made him wary of filing a lawsuit against McNamee.
"I don't know if I can defend myself," Clemens said. "I think people - a lot of people have already made their decisions. And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocence - that's the way our country works now. And then everybody's talking about sue, sue, sue. Should I sue? Well, yeah, let me exhaust - let me, let me just spend," he said.
"Let me keep spending. But I'm going to explore what I can do, and then I want to see if it's going to be worth it, worth all the headache."