Cleary signed a one-year contract with the team Thursday after reports had him joining the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I'm sorry to everybody for the drama that was created. It's just not my style," Cleary told the team's website after arriving in Traverse City, Mich. for training camp. "Social media at times can be frustrating, but that’s the world we live in and I apologize to all of the writers, the Philly writers, but I'm a Red Wing and I'm proud to be a Red Wing."
The contract is worth $1.75 million. Cleary spent the past eight seasons as a member of the Red Wings.
"We think we're a better team with [Cleary]," general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com. "He's versatile on the wing, he's good in the locker room. In the end, he flew up [Wednesday] to meet with [coach Mike Babcock] and I at the airport and his message was he wanted to be a Red Wing and he wanted to work with us.
"He hopes to play until he's 38, 39 years of age. He's 34, let's take a one-year deal and trust that things will work out based on the coach knowing him, based upon the people that he knows in the locker room and the history of the ownership in Detroit."
"11 is Danny's number in Detroit, so I'll pick another number," Alfredsson said in a comment tweeted by the team.
Cleary, who had been expected to join the Flyers for training camp on a professional tryout, didn't report to the team Wednesday as expected and wasn't present when the Flyers took to the ice Thursday morning for their first practice.
"[Flyers GM] Paul Holmgren was a real gentleman and a class act through the whole situation," Cleary said. "I think he understood how tough the situation was for me. I pretty much told him that I was having a hard time. I needed an extra day or two and he was in complete support and I just said for me, if I was going to go there, I need to go there 100 percent. I didn’t think it was fair to him or to [owner Ed] Snider and the organization, or the players, or the Philly fans, so I figure that I owed him to give 100 percent of me and I couldn't give it. My heart was here and I had a change of heart."
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