Big night for Rush on and off the field

By Chad Thornburg
Updated 6/17/2012 1:02 AM

A win over the Georgia Force wasn't the only good news for the Chicago Rush on Saturday night.

During the second half, the AFL players union confirmed that a deal was reached between the owners and the union on a new collective-bargaining agreement.


"From what I hear, the deal is done and we will have football for the rest of the year and the rest of a few years down the line," said receiver Reggie Gray, the Rush's player representative. "That's great to hear, especially after a great victory."

As of Saturday night, the AFL has yet to make an official announcement regarding the negotiations.

The labor dispute threatened the remainder of the 2012 season and already had started to affect the league as the Cleveland Gladiators forfeited last week's contest against the Pittsburgh Power when its players went on strike.

On the field, the Rush (8-5) continued to roll at home, extending its perfect record at the Allstate Arena to 7-0. Coming off a 40-point loss to the Utah Blaze, the Rush got a dominating win of its own with a 62-27 victory over the Force.

"I hate to say it's going to happen here and there, but when it does there's not much you can do about it," quarterback Russ Michna said of the loss in Utah. "All we can do is move on, and I think we did a good job of bouncing back this week."

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The Rush defense gave up 70 points in a loss to the Force (7-7) earlier this season but came up big Saturday by forcing several turnovers on downs and intercepting 3 passes. Rush defensive back Jorrick Calvin recorded 2 of the picks, and linebacker Kelvin Morris returned the other 32 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Saturday's game marked the Rush debut for Calvin, who arrived in Chicago on Wednesday.

"Our main thing was to get a swagger about our selves back there," he said. "Believe in yourself and know that no one can beat you but yourself. And that's what we did tonight, and we did it pretty good."

Offensively, 6 of Chicago's 8 scores came through the hands of receivers Gray and Jared Perry, each with 3 touchdowns. Gray finished with 7 catches for 91 yards and Perry hauled in 4 for 55 yards. Michna threw for 217 yards and 6 touchdowns on 17-for-26 passing.

The Rush will head to Kansas City next week with hopes of straightening out its 1-5 road record and making a push for the fourth playoff spot in the National Conference Central Division.

"Hopefully we can make a little run here," Michna said. "This is a good first step at least."

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