Raptors bit by slumping economy—to sit out 2010 season

By Doug Halberstadt

Sports Columnist

The local economy has claimed another victim. The Rock River Raptors won’t be back for the 2010 Continental Indoor Football League season. The Raptors played their home games at the Rockford MetroCentre. According to their Web, site the team is taking a one-year furlough.

The Raptors’ majority owner Bob Lowe assures everyone the team will be back in 2011. “This is only one year,” he said. “We are not shutting down.”

Lowe has been trying to work out a new lease agreement with the MetroCentre. By taking a year off, Lowe says it’ll give him and MetroCentre management more time to work out a long-term agreement.

Lowe is also looking for a new head of football operations to run the franchise. The year off will give him more time to hire that person and to put a staff in place.

Lowe is also hoping the additional time will give the struggling economy time to bounce back.

In other CIFL action, Commissioner Jeff Spitaleri recently announced the Chicago Slaughter have been suspended for violation of league rules and failure to meet league financial obligations.

The defending league champions are delinquent in league dues, and have not followed due process in preparing for the 2010 season, according to Spitaleri.

“It’s a difficult decision to make, but it is one that must be done,” Spitaleri said. “We’ve tried to work with the team to come up with a resolution, but repeated attempts to do so failed, and the teams of the league decided that we should move forward with the suspension.”

Steve McMichael, former Chicago Bears defensive lineman from the 1985 Super Bowl champion team, was the head coach for the Slaughter.

The CIFL will update the situation as warranted.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

From the November 18-24, 2009 issue

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