Colts’ Owner Jim Irsay Talks About Addiction

By Shawn Dwyer 06/10/14

In a wide-ranging interview, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts opened up for the first time about his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Irsay with a fellow drunk. Wiki Commons

Jim Irsay, the wild man owner of the Indianapolis Colts, recently gave a candid interview about his decades-long battle with drugs and alcohol that led to his DWI arrest back in March.

"These diseases, both alcoholism and addiction, much like bipolar or depression and different illnesses, are still not seen as real diseases," Irsay said. "People shy away from seeking help because it's viewed as being somewhat morally off the path, that they've lost their way. I really think the disease aspect gets lost when you're talking about alcoholism and addiction."

Irsay was arrested in Carmel, Ind. on March 16, 2014 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. Police said he failed several roadside sobriety tests while a search of the vehicle turned up a number of prescription drugs.

He revealed in his interview that he became addicted to painkillers for injuries to his hip and back, and was lost in the throes of addiction. Isray said he was still taking pain medication for his ailments, but was doing so under the supervision of doctors. He also said that he agreed to random drug testing by the prosecutor’s office and will submit the results to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Irsay has been to several rehab centers across the country, but declined to reveal the specifics about the night he was arrested. He only revealed that his stint in rehab had been “a blessing” and that he was glad to have the chance at recovery.

"It's been a long path. I still have chronic pain,” Irsay said. “But it was the good thing…In some ways, [going through rehab] is my greatest moment. It takes courage to try and overcome the difficulties you have.”

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.