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updated: 2/10/2011 1:33 PM

It's football time in suburbs again

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  • Former Bears lineman Steve "Mongo" McMichael is getting his Chicago Slaughter team ready for its IFL season. The Slaughter opens up on the road against LaCrosse on Feb. 18, with the home opener Feb. 26 at Sears Centre Arena against the Omaha Beef.

      Former Bears lineman Steve "Mongo" McMichael is getting his Chicago Slaughter team ready for its IFL season. The Slaughter opens up on the road against LaCrosse on Feb. 18, with the home opener Feb. 26 at Sears Centre Arena against the Omaha Beef.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Chicago Rush head coach Bob McMillen of Naperville has a month left to get his Arena Football League team ready for its 10th season. The Rush kicks off its season at Milwaukee on March 14, with the home opener against the Philadelphia Soul at Allstate Arena on March 18.

      Chicago Rush head coach Bob McMillen of Naperville has a month left to get his Arena Football League team ready for its 10th season. The Rush kicks off its season at Milwaukee on March 14, with the home opener against the Philadelphia Soul at Allstate Arena on March 18.
    Photo courtesy Chicago Rush

 
 

Are you ready for some more football?

Yeah, the Bears just finished their playoff run and the Packers and Steelers put on quite a show in the Super Bowl en route to becoming the most watched event in television history, but yet, the game goes on.

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The indoor variety of the game, that is, as the Chicago Slaughter and the Chicago Rush rev up to start their seasons.

The Slaughter opens up on the road against LaCrosse on Feb. 18, with the home opener Feb. 26 at Sears Centre Arena against the Omaha Beef.

The Rush kicks off its season a month later at Milwaukee on March 14, with the home opener against the Philadelphia Soul at the Allstate Arena on March 18.

And with labor unrest topic No. 1 in the NFL, football fans can rest assured that these games will indeed go on.

The Slaughter, who won the CIFL championship in 2009 and then made it to the conference semifinals last season in its first year in the Indoor Football League (IFL), is already in preparation for what it hopes will be a return to the top in 2011.

"There are some talented guys in here right now," veteran linebacker Lenny Radke said after the team's first practice at Grand Sports Arena in Hoffman Estates. "That was a great run we had in 2009. An incredible experience, really. Looking around this facility right now, I see players who can bring us to that point again this year."

While head coach Steve McMichael will be back prowling the Slaughter's sidelines, there will be one familiar face missing; running back Jarrett Payton, who retired in the offseason. The Slaughter is hoping former University of Michigan running back Kevin Grady can fill Payton's shoes.

Another key signing figures to be well-traveled quarterback Ben Stankey, a veteran of 11 years in pro football. Stankey, the MVP of the 1999 Aloha Bowl while playing for Wake Forest, backed up former Bear Henry Burris with the champion Calgary Stampeders for five years. He also played for the Houston Texans, the Hamilton Tiger Cats (CFL), the Tennessee Valley Raptors, the Rock River Raptors, the BC Lions (CFL), the Omaha Beef and the Omaha Nighthawks before coming to the Slaughter.

The biggest personnel shakeup for the Rush, who celebrate their 10th anniversary -- though not in consecutive seasons -- comes at head coach, where former Rush running back/linebacker Bob McMillen, selected as one of the 20 greatest players in AFL history, takes over for longtime coach Mike Hohensee, who is now with Philadelphia.

"Hiring Bob was an easy choice for the Rush organization, as he is the perfect person to lead the team," Rush president/GM Gene Nudo said at McMillen's introductory news conference. "We are very proud to call upon one of the AFL's all-time greats as our head coach and we expect that Bob will mold the Rush into his image -- tough, hard-nosed and prepared to succeed."

And though the Rush has made a few offseason signings, there is still room on the roster, and for those interested the team will be holding an open tryout for all positions (kickers excluded) at Soccer City in Palatine on Monday from 7 a.m. to noon.

For complete schedules, tickets and more information, visit chicagoslaughter.com and arenarush.com.

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