Jim Irsay has a problem.
Most immediately, it's a legal problem. After being arrested late Sunday night under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Irsay could face up to 12 years in prison if he is convicted on four felony charges of possession of a controlled substance.
More expansively, it appears to be an ongoing battle with addiction. And he's not alone.
In 2002, Irsay admitted to becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. He said at the time he believed he had beaten his demons through treatment, but the Indianapolis Star reported Monday some in the Colts organization recently have been urging the 54-year-old owner to return to rehabilitation.
There was a lot of talk Monday about the actions NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might take against Irsay under the league's personal conduct policy. In 2010, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was fined $100,000 and suspended for 30 days (later cut to 21) after pleading guilty to driving while impaired.
But this story isn't about football. It's about a man's life.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 38,329 Americans died from an overdose of pain killers in 2010. That was the 11th straight year in which the number of deaths had risen, and those are the most recent statistics available.
Of those overdoses, 57 percent involved prescription medication and 75 percent were accidental.
The Colts can move on — especially in the short-term — without their owner. His three daughters — Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Casey Foyt and Kalen Irsay — all hold positions as vice chair/owner in the franchise's administration.
They've been around the team for much of their lives, and Foyt even has attended owners' meetings in recent years as she and her sisters are groomed as the next generation of ownership. Together with general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano, they can keep their father's vision for the franchise intact.
Of far greater importance is making sure Irsay himself is still around to enjoy the fruits of that labor.
The owner has endeared himself to Colts fans by openly showing his passion for the franchise and with frequent interaction through a colorful Twitter account. By many accounts, he's a kind and compassionate man with a big heart and a generous spirit.
The full extent of his impact on the community and the state might never be known because he rarely seeks publicity for his common acts of charity.
But Jim Irsay has a problem.
His arrest Sunday night might finally serve as the alarm bell that startles him into seeking help.
For the sake of his family, and his many fans, I pray that is the case.
Jim Irsay has a problem.
Colts Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 29
Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University on Monday.
Anderson hopes to make name with Colts
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was the first person Colt Anderson saw upon reporting to Anderson University last Wednesday. And he couldn't resist making the obvious connection. "Colt Anderson's a Colt ... in Anderson," Manusky said as a way of greeting the new Indianapolis Colts safety to training camp.
Colts release RB Rainey
Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.
Colts Camp 2014: Day 5
VIDEO: As the Colts wrapped up their first week of training camp at Anderson University, the team announced the release of Chris Rainey and quarterback Andrew Luck got a taste of the defense's ferocity.
Luck still learning
Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University. During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.
Colts Camp Update: ESPN's in town
The first week of practice at Anderson University wrapped up Monday morning with the Indianapolis Colts working out from 9 a.m. to noon.
Colts Camp Day 5: Midday Update
VIDEO: Herald Bulletin sports reporter George Bremer checks in with a training camp update and says Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had an uneven day in a morning practice before a day off.
Castonzo comfortable with Colts' changing O-line
For all the changes along the offensive line the past three seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been the lone constant. He joined a veteran group anchored by center Jeff Saturday in 2011, was part of a remodeled unit in 2012 and became a mainstay at left tackle for all 16 games last year.
Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans
Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.
Colts' offense adapting to new arsenal
Third-year tight end Dwayne Allen suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guard Donald Thomas, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Reggie Wayne also exited the lineup over the next six weeks. It left offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scrambling to come up with new ways to attack defenses with an ever-changing cast of characters.
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