Indianapolis Colts Owner 'Desperately Needs Help' After DWI Arrest

By McCarton Ackerman 03/19/14

Despite his denials, Jim Irsay has been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for decades, with one fellow owner calling him a 'sick, sick man'.

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The recent DWI arrest of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is reportedly the culmination of a drug problem that has spanned for decades.

One source close to the NFL team owner described him as a “sick, sick man” who “desperately needs help.” After his arrest last weekend, Irsay now faces four felony counts after being arrested on preliminary charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

The police report indicates that the Colts owner failed several roadside sobriety tests and a search of the vehicle turned up numerous prescription drugs, though the pills allegedly did not match the bottles. It’s unclear whether alcohol was actually involved in the arrest; Irsay denied having a drinking problem last October. “Actually working, sorry naysayers,” he tweeted. “I don't drink...haven't in over 15 years..I know when your unhappy or jealous it's easy to b mean-spirited."

USA Today writer Bob Kravitz reported that Irsay’s drug abuse was a poorly kept secret among Colts insiders. His weight dropped from 235 pounds to 165 pounds, but was dismissed as a doctor’s order to help keep the strain off a bad back and hip. He also refused repeated pleas to enter rehab or to hire a driver to take him to and from work. Irsay addressed the arrest yesterday via Twitter, writing “Deepest thx to family, friends, fans, colleagues for the messages of support, thoughts and prayers. Impossible to tell u how much this means.”

The four preliminary charges of possession of a controlled substance that Irsay faces are Class D felonies, each punishable by up to three years in prison, but Irsay will probably not face jail time even if convicted. While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not handed down any punishments yet, it is likely that Irsay will face some consequences for his actions. In 2010, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand received a 30-day suspension, $100,000 fine and mandatory community service after pleading guilty to driving while impaired.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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