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Beasley Begins Again

Heat forward Michael Beasley was many things in his first public comments Friday since he

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returned from a substance-abuse treatment facility in Houston.

He was contrite. He was genuine in his remorse. He was responsible for his actions. He was open to accepting whatever role he'll be given this season. He was a young man who wants to do whatever it takes to get his life and basketball career past what he hopes will be the worst summer he'll ever experience.

Let me rephrase that. Michael Beasley (pictured above right, with assistant coach Dave Fizdale) seemed to be all of those things Friday as he sat across a table from a small group of reporters just off the Heat's practice court. Other than holding back on a couple of specific issues at the behest of the team's PR staff that flanked him (under league privacy guidelines), Beasley opened up on just about every other ordeal he has faced in the year since he entered the league as the No. 2 overall pick.

We reserved a huge chunk of what Beasley talked about for a story that will appear online soon and in the Miami Herald on Saturday. But there was plenty of revealing information that didn't make the initial cut.

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First and foremost, Beasley apologized for his actions that landed him in the substance-abuse program and a month-long stay at a Houston treatment facility. He knows he not only embarrassed himself, but also brought unnecessary scrutiny to his organization and teammates. But Beasley (pictured left) also revealed large enough shoulders (he gained 10 pounds of muscle in two months) to carry the responsibility he faces.

Yes, the Heat has not-so nicely asked him to make changes with his lifestyle off the court. There's talk that he not only changed residences, but also changed members of his inner circle. On top of that, there's even one rumor that he had to get rid of his dogs - the ones he claimed last season gave him the flu. Beasley wouldn't touch this subject on Friday.

For at least a day, Beasley came across as taking his life and his profession far more seriously. If Friday was the first step in the rest of Beasley's basketball career and life, he seemed to get off to a running start.

Here are his takes on several issues.

(The controversial Twitter comments that were widely perceived as a cry for help and sign of depression) "I'm not suicidal. And I never, ever thought about killing myself or doing anything like that. Those Tweets were miscommunications that were misunderstood. I think I kind of channeled my emotions and threw my emotions the wrong way. "

(On putting your life and career back into perspective) "I'm ready to start the season up and start training camp and I think my situation being locked down for as long as I was, gave me a chance to really get my life organized and get back in touch with myself. I think over this past year, I've got caught up in the NBA life, as most of us do. I think this gave me the perfect opportunity to just sit down and evaluate my life and get the good separated from the bad."

(On taking responsibility for your actions and growing up) "That chapter is behind. Later for the

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immaturity. Later for me blaming it on my age. I've come to realize I'm a professional, no matter if I'm 38, no matter if I'm 19 or 20. I'm a professional."

(On why it took going through this rehab to reach this point) "Um, you always find out for yourself. You're never really going to listen, especially in my situation, 19 years old, all the money in the world, I wasn't really listening. It's like if somebody tells you a stove is hot, you understand that, but you don't really know until you touch the stove. And I finally touched the stove and came to realize that everything everyone told me was true."

(On how comfortable or uncomfortable the inpatient program was) "It was like the Four Seasons. Seriously." 

(On regaining the trust of his teammates) "They understand my situation and they’ve backed me 100 percent. I’ve talked to them throughout the process. When I got back, I know I messed up and I think they realize I’m sincere and I’m apologetic for having to put them through what I’ve been through. What happens to the team happens to every man on the roster."

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

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