Updated: March 6, 2014 10:27PM
Mike Magee flatly denied holding out. Fire management was adamant the 2013 MVP was away from the team because of personal reasons.
Yet a report said that Magee could get a new deal and that the Fire star was away because of contract-related issues.
Sports Illustrated reported Thursday that Magee and the Fire are close to a multiyear deal that would make the 29-year-old a designated player, meaning only a portion of his salary would count toward the team’s cap. The report said the contract would be worth about $450,000-$500,000 per season.
Magee earned $191,666.67 last season from a contract he signed with the L.A. Galaxy. That deal runs through 2015.
After taking part in league promotional events, Magee was scheduled to return to Fire training camp Feb. 18 in Tucson, Ariz. Instead, the team said Magee stayed away after agent Richard Motzkin requested time off for his client to handle personal issues in the Chicago area.
According to the report, Magee was absent because of his “frustration with the pace of negotiations” and he returned Feb. 26 “as a sign of good faith.”
At practice Monday, Magee denied he held out but sounded open to inking a new deal.
“That’s not up to me. I wish I wrote my own contract, but unfortunately that’s someone else’s decision,” Magee said. “If they offer me a long contract for a lot of money, I’ll surely sign it.”
Meanwhile, the Fire waived midfielder Yazid Atouba, the 30th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft last year. He made three appearances for the club in 2013 and played in the Fire’s friendly against Mexican team Club America.