Crawford-Henry patch things up after negative remarks

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Crawford-Henry patch things up after negative remarks

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Last October, John Henry created a stir when he said in a radio interview that he was against the signing of free agent Carl Crawford. Last week, Crawford acknowledged that he was unhappy with Henry over the remarks.

Saturday, they met and patched things up.

"It felt real good,'' said Crawford after the meeting, which lasted for about 10 minutes. "I like those kind of meetings where you clear the air and make everything better. I think it's best for the organization that we all get along. That's the way it should be.

"I accepted (the apology); that wasn't hard to do. We pretty much cleared the air. He got right to the point and he made it real easy for me to accept his apology. It felt real good to move on and put it behind us because there are other things we need to be focusing on (rather) than stuff that happened last year.''

Henry, who earlier in the day said "I should have never made those comments'' during a press conference, was also gratified for a chance to clear the air.

"It was great,'' said Henry. "It was necessary. It was something I wanted to do and I'm sure he wanted to do. I won't go into what was said, but I wanted to apologize for creating all this (controversy). I needed to apologize for that.''

Henry said he has admired Crawford as a player ever since the first game of the 2003 season when Crawford belted a walkoff homer against Red Sox reliever Chad Fox.

Crawford struggled mightily in his first season in Boston, but Henry expects bigger things in 2012.

"He's a tremendous player,'' Henry said. "I think..I know you'll see a different Carl Crawford this year.''

Predicted Crawford: "We'll be better off (because of the meeting. We'll become stronger and the bond will be closer from him saying (he was sorry). That's the way I look at it.''

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

WALTHAM -- From one media station to the next, Al Horford effortlessly moved about during Boston Celtics Media Day.
 
In between stations, I jokingly asked the nine-year veteran, "Been through a few of these before?"
 
"A couple," he quipped.
 
But Monday was different. And every other Monday going forward this season will be different, too, for the longtime Atlanta Hawks forward, who is now a member of the Boston Celtics after they signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract this summer.
 
With that significant increase in salary comes -- from those outside the Celtics program at least -- a higher level of expectations.
 
"We’re not asking Al to be anything more than him," said coach Brad Stevens.  "He’s a good fit for how we play on offense. He’s a good fit for how we play on defense. He’s a professional. He has a routine. He works hard at his craft. He’s a guy that guys can follow by example."
 
However, Horford joins a Celtics team that -- since the rebuild began in 2013 -- has yet to win 50 games in a single season or get past the first round of the playoffs.
 
And while it will certainly be a collective team effort for Boston to achieve those goals, make no mistake about it: Horford is expected to be the man leading the way.
 
"We need to start building good habits from Day One," Horford said.

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, is a big fan of Horford’s character and versatility, which has been on display throughout his career.
 
"As much as anything he’s been very consistent over his career," Ainge said. "Shooting the ball, playing multiple positions. He’s a guy that fits in with our system with big guys handling the ball a lot."
 
Horford’s new teammate echoed similar sentiments about the four-time All-Star.
 
And when you listen to his new Celtics teammates talk about him and what he’ll bring to a roster that’s loaded with returnees, there are a couple of common themes that seem to develop.
 
"He brings leadership; hard work," said Avery Bradley.
 
Bradley had a chance to spend some time around Jeff Teague, one of Horford’s former teammates in Atlanta.
 
"He just told me I’m really going to enjoy having him on this team," Bradley said. "He’s going to open the floor for everybody. He’s a great player on the offensive end, defensive end. He knows how to play the game of basketball. To have him be a part of this team, I’m just happy about it."
 
So is Amir Johnson, who will likely start with Horford in the frontcourt for Boston.
 
Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man. With the addition of Horford, Johnson won’t be relied on as heavily to be Boston’s last line of defense, which makes his life easier and, more importantly, makes the Celtics a better team defensively.
 
"[Horford] has so many skills he can contribute to the game," Johnson said. "He can run the floor, block shots, shoot the 3-ball, which is big now. He can do it all. It’ll be a big piece to carry us over the top. We just have to put it all together."