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Erie Storm Announces Return Of QB Rutherford

January 28, 2010 - American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) - Erie Explosion News Release

ERIE, PA (January 28, 2010) - Head Coach Shawn Liotta of the Erie Storm, a team in the American Indoor Football Association, announced today that former Pitt quarterback and AIFA All-Star Rod Rutherford has signed a contract to return to Erie to lead the Storm offense for the upcoming 2010 season.

Rutherford, 6'2"-230, was an instant success upon joining Erie in the sixth week of the 2008 season, quickly earning a reputation as one of the league's most lethal dual-threat quarterbacks. He led Erie to a 7-2 record in his nine regular-season starts, completing 51% of his passes for 1,650 yards and 25 touchdowns, and adding an additional 16 touchdowns rushing. Rutherford finished among the league leaders in total offense per game, total touchdowns, rushing yardage, and rushing touchdowns. After leading Erie to the postseason, he was honored for his accomplishments with his recognition as an AIFA All-Star.

"Our offense became instantly much more productive when Rod joined us back in 2008, and his return to Erie is an important first step in our plan to reclaim and build upon our momentum. In my mind, he has the best combination of size, intelligence, arm strength, and speed of any quarterback in our league. Rod knows our offense having spent two indoor football seasons with me, and he's ready once again to take this league by STORM." commented Liotta.

Rutherford enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Pitt under Head Coach Walt Harris, where he started 26 games, completing 458 of 842 passes for 6,724 yards with 60 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. As one of the nation's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks, he added 880 yards on the ground with 14 rushing touchdowns. During his junior season, his first as a starter, Rutherford was voted to the All-Big East team, and led Pitt to a national ranking (18) and a win over Oregon State in the Insight.com Bowl. As a senior, he set all-time Pitt school records for passing yardage (3,679) and total offense yardage (3,829), tied Dan Marino for most touchdown passes in a season with 37, and led the Panthers to a postseason bowl appearance at the Continental Tire Bowl. For his efforts, Rutherford was named as a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award honoring the best quarterbacks in the nation, joining several other accomplished quarterbacks including Eli Manning, Matt Leinart, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger.

Upon graduation, Rutherford joined the NFL's Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent and was a member of their practice squad in 2005. He then joined the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad for their 2006 season, where he earned a Super Bowl ring. In 2007, Rutherford played with Hamburg in NFL Europe.

Rutherford was one of the most highly-coveted athletes in the nation following his high school career at Perry Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh. He led his team to two City League Championships and two Class AAA State Championship games, winning one. His list of honors include Associated Press Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year, City League Player of the Year, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/Fox Sports Pittsburgh Player of the Year, SuperPrep All-American, PrepStar Dream Team and All-American, and an invitation to the Big 33 Football Classic.

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