Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee was in a joking mood when he met the media Monday for the first time during the 2014 preseason, but he briefly turned serious when he said he wasn't holding out for a new contact when he missed more than a week of training camp.
"I don't know who told you that, but no one told me that," Magee said. "I was not holding out."
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Fire technical director Brian Bliss last week said Magee was excused from camp for a personal situation, which Magee said Monday is "resolved."
The Long Grove native arrived in camp Wednesday night and was scheduled to talk to the media Friday on a conference call from camp in Tucson, Ariz., but backed out to get some extra training in. He played briefly in Saturday's final exhibition match, picking up a yellow card, which provided fodder for another joke.
"I just had to get on the stat sheet somehow," he said with a smile.
"Preseason's obviously a pretty important time, and missing a couple of weeks with the guys was hard, but getting back in here it's a little better. As much as I want to be with the guys, I don't mind missing some running and all that."
Magee often was toward the front of his group while running Monday at the Bridgeview Dome.
"My fitness is good. I started preseason about four months ago, so I'm good," said Magee, who also had been suffering from a slight hamstring strain. "The hamstring is OK."
Fire coach Frank Yallop said Magee has "a little bit of catching up to do with his fitness," but added Magee "will be involved (in the season opener Sunday at Chivas USA) for sure. In what capacity we'll figure that out. But he'll be ready to go next Sunday for sure."
Added Yallop: "He got a yellow card, which, you know Mike, I was pleased with that. He's here to play. He's back now. He's excited. He's over his injury, the stuff he had. Everything is good. ... He's chomping at the bit for me to give him that green light."
Magee, who is under contract through the 2015 season, said he would be receptive to contract talks with the Fire.
"That's not up to me. I wish I wrote my own contract, but unfortunately it's someone else's decision. If they offered me a long contract with a lot of money, I'd surely sign it," he said.
Whatever the reason for his absence, Magee's teammates were happy to see him return.
"Soccer-wise it's great," veteran midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. "Everyone knows what kind of talent he has. Also off the field, personality-wise, he bring something special to our team. It doesn't change because that's who he is and we always welcome him to be back and enjoy having him around."