Rush back to work, beats Storm in season opener
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media March 10, 2012 11:06PM
Updated: April 12, 2012 10:11AM
Under the cloud of a work stoppage, Rush players might have questioned whether their season would start on time.
Most Orlando and Pittsburgh regulars sat out the league opener Friday in a game played with replacements. But the AFL players union had its members return to work Saturday, when the Rush opened its season with a 70-48 victory against the Tampa Bay Storm at Allstate Arena.
Starting quarterbacks earn a weekly stipend of $1,200 while all other players make $400 per week. Housing and two meals per day are included.
“It’s not necessarily anyone is looking for a contract increase,” quarterback Russ Michna said. “It’s a combination of both sides are just trying to make sure everyone is on the same page. I don’t know if it has anything to do with money.”
Linebacker Kelvin Morris returned two interceptions for touchdowns. His second, a 28-yard return, put the Rush up by 22 with 5:41 left in the game. His first return went 26 yards for the game’s first score. The Rush, which set the AFL record with 56 takeaways last season, had four Saturday.
Michna broke his own franchise record for touchdown passes in a game, tossing eight.
“This group of guys we have here running around is really talented,’’ Michna said. ‘‘That’s what really has me excited this year. Our talent at receiver is really good, as good as I’ve ever been around in this league.”
The Rush trailed by seven in the second quarter before tying the score at 35 with 12 seconds left in the first half on Michna’s four-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Hamilton.
The Rush scored the only two touchdowns of the third quarter to take the lead for good.