Ready to Roll in Chicago
After what could be described as an interesting night in the Arena Football League last night, the second night of the AFL season appears to be ready to go in Chicago.
According to Chicago Rush head coach Bob McMillen, “All of our guys are here and ready to go. Last night should have proved to the players that the League means business.”
McMillen also stated that the team has all of its rostered players in the arena and a total of 35 players ready to go in the event that something should happen.
Tampa Bay Storm Head Coach Dave Ewart has also confirmed that he has all of his rostered players in the arena. The team also has arrangements for local players in the Chicago area to be ready in the event of any Player Union issues.
AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz is on hand in Chicago and has been observed speaking with players as they come out to warm up.
There have not been any sightings of Arena Football League Players Union (AFLPU) Executive Director Ivan Soto or AFLPU President James Baron in the arena. According to an interview with ArenaFan.com earlier in the day, Baron was driving some of the Pittsburgh Power players that were left home. Soto was still in Orlando as of Saturday afternoon.
In speaking directly to the Commissioner, he stated that, “The Union had declared the work stoppage after the kickoff at last night’s game. They put an end to the work stoppage late last night.” The Commissioner did not use the word "strike" in his quote.
He also stated that he is in the business of “putting on football games,” and that is what he is out to accomplish.
According to Rush jack linebacker Kelvin Morris, “The players have put a trust into a guy that they don’t even know. It was a shame the way things went down last night. It just goes to show that these [Soto and Baron] are out for themselves.”
Morris also stated that the Rush players had a meeting in which all of them declared that they would not be striking at all and that they were all in for the entire season.
Morris also confirmed that he received a message from Soto telling the players to go back to work and that after last night, the Union will be “fighting this battle in court.”
Rush quarterback Russ Michna was observed speaking with the Commissioner stating, “You guys [the League] are wrong and the Union is wrong. There needs to be a middle ground in here somewhere.”
As of 6:00 (CT), the players are warming up as expected and are getting ready to go.
Please be sure to check back with ArenaFan.com for continued updates on this situation.
Jeff has been writing for ArenaFan.com since 2004. Originally from New York, Jeff has been living in the Chicago area for the past ten years and is an avid football fanatic. He holds a BA in communications from Hofstra University in New York and a sports management certificate from Loyola University in Chicago.