Sports Briefs 2-19-13

Published:

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he shot his girlfriend to death by mistake, thinking she was a robber. The prosecutor called it premeditated murder.

The double amputee said in an affidavit read by his lawyer at his bail hearing that he felt vulnerable because he did not have on his prosthetic legs when he pumped bullets into the locked bathroom door. Then, Pistorius said in the sworn statement, he realized that model Reeva Steenkamp was not in his bed.

"It filled me with horror and fear ," he said.

He put on his prosthetic legs, tried to kick down the door, then bashed it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp, 29, shot inside. He said he ran downstairs with her, but "She died in my arms."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday charged the 26-year-old athlete and Olympian with premeditated murder, alleging he took the time to put on his legs and walk some seven meters (yards) from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire. A conviction of premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail.

• Football

Stock down?: Manti Te'o told USA Today on Monday that he doesn't believe the online hoax that fooled him will affect his stock in the upcoming NFL draft. The former Notre Dame linebacker also said he has shut down his Twitter account and isn't sure if he will ever use social media again.

The NFL combine begins Wednesday in Indianapolis, and Te'o is certain to face a lot of questions from teams wanting to know more about how he was drawn into the bizarre hoax that made national headlines.

Saturday released: The Green Bay Packers have released veteran center Jeff Saturday, who signed a two-year deal with the Packers as an unrestricted free agent in March 2012 after playing 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl selection in 14 seasons, was benched as a starter with two games left in the regular season in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith.

• Elsewhere

Legal battle: With the long-awaited notice of allegations against Miami looming -- and possibly being prepared for delivery by the NCAA as early as Tuesday -- the sides both made strong statements on Monday, first when the NCAA said its "missteps" would not derail the case, then when the Hurricanes rebutted by calling the probe "unprofessional and unethical."

A legal battle now seems possible, especially since Miami made its position clear on Monday: It will not accept any other sanctions other than the stiff ones it already has self-inflicted, a list that includes missing three postseason football games, holding back some football scholarships and declaring several players ineligible after they were found to be involved in wrongdoing.

Coach reprimanded: California coach Mike Montgomery was reprimanded by the Pac-12 on Monday for shoving one of his own players in the chest during a game. The conference did not announce what specific punishment Montgomery received for his actions Sunday night, although he will not be suspended.

The confrontation happened during a timeout early in the second half of Cal's 76-68 win over Southern California on Sunday night when Montgomery yelled at star guard Allen Crabbe for nonchalant play and then shoved him in the chest with both hands.

Cubs concerned: The Cubs have gone from worrying about Matt Garza's elbow to concern over his side.

Chicago's starter will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the side injury he sustained while pitching batting practice, his first extensive work since last July.

Garza, who made just 18 starts last season because of an elbow injury, felt a twinge in his side while throwing on Sunday.

Common ground: Arch foes Iran and the U.S. have found some common ground in the fight to save wrestling as an Olympic sport.

U.S. wrestling coach Zeke Jones on Tuesday called the sport an important "ambassador," suggesting possible cooperation to fight a decision by the International Olympic Committee to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games.

Another Jacket loss: Peter Holland and Ryan Getzlaf scored 21 seconds apart in the first period, rallying the Anaheim Ducks to their fifth consecutive victory, 3-2 over the NHL-worst Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Pacific Division-leading Ducks' winning streak is currently the longest in the NHL and they've also won their last five home games.

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