The Washington Post

Colts owner Jim Irsay charged with four felony counts after DUI arrest (updated)

(Mug shot via WISH-TV) (Mug shot via WISH-TV)

Updated at 1:50 p.m. EDT with Irsay’s release

Jim Irsay, the Indianapolis Colts’ owner who has battled addiction in the past, was charged Monday with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence after his arrest in an Indianapolis suburb late Sunday night.

Irsay was held overnight in Hamilton County jail and was released after posting bond Monday afternoon. Hamilton County officials says the arrest occurred at 11:41 p.m. Sunday in Carmel, Ind., when Irsay, driving at a slow rate of speed, stopped and failed to signal a turn, Lt. Joe Bickel of the Carmel Police Department said in a release (via the Indianapolis Star).

“During the course of the investigation, Irsay subsequently failed several roadside field sobriety tests,” Bickel said.

In a search of his vehicle, “multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles. These Schedule IV prescription drugs were not associated with any prescription bottles found in the vehicle,” police added.

Irsay’s problems, Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star writes, have been known within the organization for the last few years. He is, a source told Kravitz, “a sick, sick man” in need of help. From Kravitz:

The Colts have been cleaning up Irsay’s messes for years now. Time and again, Irsay dismissed the concerns of his close friends and confidantes, even if his increasingly gaunt physical appearance sent up red flags throughout the community.

I asked him two months ago about his weight loss, which has brought him from 235 pounds to 165 pounds, and he insisted that the doctors wanted him to lose weight to keep the strain off his troublesome back and hip.

I suspected otherwise.

Those of us who are around Irsay on a semi-regular basis suspected otherwise for a very long time.

So why didn’t you write it?

That’s a fair question. But it’s much like the baseball players during the steroid era. Suspicions cannot be the basis for news stories. My feeling all along has been, “Unless he gets arrested for drugs, or acts erratically in a public setting while obviously under the influence, it will remain nothing more than an educated guess.”

Now he’s been arrested.

The game has changed.

Irsay, 54, said last October in one of his many Twitter conversations that he had not had a drink in 15 years. A month later, his wife of 33 years filed for divorce. In 2002, the Star reported, Irsay underwent treatment for an addiction to painkillers.

“After several years of orthopedic operations and procedures, accompanied by long bouts of chronic pain, I became dependent on prescription pain medications,” Irsay said in a statement in 2002. “This summer I sought professional help at a nationally recognized facility located outside Indiana. I have successfully dealt with my dependence and my chronic pain issues.”

In addition to the seriousness of the issue, the arrest is an embarrassing one for the NFL, whose commissioner works for owners and frequently disciplines players for off-the-field problems and arrests by invoking the personal-conduct policy. How will Roger Goodell handle this matter, which involves one of the 32 owners who employ him? Will he wait to see how the Colts handle it first? The team released a statement Monday morning, saying:

“We are gathering information at this time regarding last night’s incident involving Jim Irsay. The team will issue additional statements when the facts are sorted and we are aware of the next steps to this process. Many fans have reached out to express their concern and we appreciate their support.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · March 17, 2014