Woman refutes teen’s
claim of sex with Taylor

A woman has come forward as a defense witness in the sexual assault case against Lawrence Taylor, saying the 16-year-old girl who accused the NFL legend of rape never had sex with him, according to a statement from the woman confirmed Friday by Taylor’s attorney.

The 23-year-old woman said in a sworn statement that she accompanied an alleged pimp and the 16-year-old girl to a hotel outside New York City where Taylor was staying. She said the teenager returned to the car with $300 in cash and said: “It was weird … we didn’t even have sex.”

“He’s innocent. She’s lying. She wasn’t raped,” she said in the statement.

The statement was given to investigators working for the defense team and seen by The Associated Press.

Also: Donovan McNabb apologized to the fans of Philadelphia for not winning a Super Bowl title for them.

“I look back — the things that I set out that I wanted to accomplish and bring back to Philadelphia I wasn’t able to, and I apologize more than anything to the people of Philadelphia, not bringing that Super Bowl to them,” McNabb told Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic.

The quarterback was traded to division rival Washington last month after 11 seasons with the Eagles.

Patriots receiver Wes Welker said his rehabilitation from a left knee injury is “coming along pretty well” but he still isn’t ready to put a timetable on when he’ll return to New England.

Welker led the NFL last season with 123 catches, but tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the Patriots’ final regular-season game and missed their playoff loss to Baltimore.

Former NFL defensive tackle Norman Hand, 37, died after collapsing at his home in Walterboro, S.C.

The cause of death has not been determined. An autopsy is planned for today.

Hand’s 10-year NFL career included playing stints with the Dolphins, Saints, Chargers, Seahawks and Giants.


Heavy rains plaguing
PGA Tour’s Texas Open

Rain washed out the second round of the Texas Open in San Antonio, and PGA officials said more bad weather this weekend could push the tournament into Monday.

More than 3 inches of rain soaked the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, where leader Matt Jones and the rest of the field never got on the course. They’ll try again today, when Jones will start with a one-stroke lead over Paul Stankowski.

Also: Se Ri Pak shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Brittany Lincicome and Wendy Ward in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala.

Pak, who opened on the 10th tee, had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on her final nine holes to top the second-round leaderboard at 9-under 135.

Joey Sindelar, Bobby Clampett, Russ Cochran and Peter Senior shot 7-under 65s in the Regions Charity Classic in Hoover, Ala., to share the lead after the record-setting first round.

The 77 players in the field had a scoring average of 69.52 on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Ross Bridge course, breaking the tournament record of 70.40 set in 2002 when the Champions Tour event was played at Greystone.

Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was disqualified from the Nationwide Tour event in Mill Spring, N.C., because his caddie used a scope to check yardages.

Rice called the error a rookie mistake and apologized to BMW Charity Pro-Am officials. Rice had shot a 92 on Thursday, the highest score ever in the tournament.

Pelle Edberg of Sweden shot a 6-under 64 in bad weather to share the second-round lead of the Mallorca Open in Son Servera, Balearic Islands, with James Kingston of South Africa.

Edberg had seven birdies and a bogey in a round that was disrupted by lightning, and Kingston shot a 70 for a 5-under total of 135.


Federer, Nadal, Venus
reach Madrid semifinals

Defending champion Roger Federer rallied from a set and a break down to beat Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and secure a place in the Madrid Masters semifinals.

Federer lost to Gulbis last month at the Rome Masters in his first clay-court match of the season, and the Latvian looked set to repeat the upset until the top-ranked Swiss found his stride in the second set.

Federer will play ninth-seeded David Ferrer, who beat 2008 champion Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-3.

Earlier, Rafael Nadal was close to his clay-court best in beating Gael Monfils, 6-1, 6-3.

Nadal will play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who beat Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1 in the only quarterfinal not to feature a seeded player.

On the women’s side, fourth-seeded Venus Williams reached the semifinals, beating Samantha Stosur, 6-3, 6-3.

Other winners were Shahar Peer of Israel, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and Aravane Rezai of France.

Also: Reigning U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters pulled out of the French Open because of a left foot injury.

Other withdrawals announced by the French Tennis Federation include the 2009 men’s U.S. Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro, sixth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and James Blake of the United States.

The French Open begins May 23.


U.S. makes its pitch for
2018 or ’22 World Cup

The United States proposed holding the World Cup draw in Miami ahead of a tournament in 2018 or 2022 and suggested the possibility of hosting the opener at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

The five-volume U.S. bid book, presented to FIFA, would put the qualifying draw in New York, its location ahead of the 1994 tournament. The U.S. bid committee has steadily been adding big names to its group and scheduled a news conference with former President Bill Clinton at a field in Harlem on Monday.

The U.S. bid proposed 18 stadiums, six more than probably would be used. In addition, new stadiums would be considered if they are built for the NFL in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other places.

Also: Fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly and 200 freestyle at the Charlotte UltraSwim in Charlotte, N.C.

Phelps, scheduled to compete in the 100 backstroke today, needed a final push to hold off Peter Vanderkaay in the 200 free, winning by 0.04 seconds in the long-course meet.

Two-time Olympian Natalie Coughlin, competing in her second meet in two years, edged 17-year-old Felicia Lee to win the 100 butterfly.

An Australian teen who spent seven months at sea became the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world.

Jessica Watson, 16, sailed into Sydney Harbour early today after completing a 23,000-nautical mile voyage.

Thousands lined the harbor to cheer on Watson as she cruised into port in her pink 34-foot yacht.

John Calipari reassured Kentucky basketball fans that he plans to coach the Wildcats next year, despite speculation he is being pursued by the NBA.

Calipari sent a message on Twitter that read: “I will be coaching at Kentucky next year. Now let’s finish what we started!”

A 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school basketball star in West Texas was charged with sexual assault after an underage girl reported having sex with him last summer when she thought he was a teenager, police said.

Guerdwich Montimer was arrested for the third time in four days, this time after a 16-year-old girl in Odessa told police and school district officials she had sex with him at a home in August when she thought he was 15-year-old Jerry Joseph, said Odessa police Cpl. Sherrie Carruth.

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