ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Jim Irsay was back at one of his favorite hangouts Friday — the Indianapolis Colts’ training camp.
He’s hoping to stick around a while longer.
Though the 55-year-old Colts owner did not discuss his looming court case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s pending decision or any potential punishments stemming from his March arrest, Irsay clearly enjoyed being around his team, coach and general manager and basked in the environment of his family business.
“At (age) 55, I really don’t think about retirement or that sort of thing,” he told The Associated Press. “I just want to continue building a great (Colts’) legacy on the field.”
First, must survive the storm that has been brewing since he was arrested with $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his car. Less than 48 hours later, team officials said Irsay voluntarily entered a treatment facility. He and was later charged with misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and driving with a Schedule I or II controlled substance in his body.
The ramifications are still lingering. Irsay’s next court date is scheduled for Monday, though he is not expected to appear until the following court date, Aug. 28. And he’s still waiting for Goodell’s ruling, one that NFL players are watching closely to see how the commissioner disciplines an owner.
In the meantime, Irsay is busy with his own team.
“With the group we have here and with Andrew (Luck) really being seasoned now and doing such amazing things in only two years, everyone understands the expectations,” he said. “You know when you have a great player like Andrew at quarterback that everyone’s going to set the bar high for achievement. So we won the division, we won a playoff game, and now it’s just a question of trying to get deeper (in the playoffs).”
Irsay looked and sounded better than he did at last year’s camp, and fans showed their support by chanting Irsay’s name while they waited for him to cover over to the fence. A few other fans waited near Irsay’s golf cart so they could get a picture with the man who first started attending training camp as a teenage ball boy when John Unitas was the Colts’ starting quarterback.
“Those days were the best,” Irsay said, reflecting on 43 years of camps.
But this year has been a tough one for Irsay. Three of his colleagues, Bud Adams, Malcolm Glazer and Ralph Wilson, have died in the past nine months and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced Wednesday that he would give up control of his team because of Alzheimer’s disease.
The news of Bowlen, who Irsay called a “great, great” friend, and Wilson, who he said was like a “dear uncle,” hit Irsay especially hard.
“We go back a long way, and it’s tough because he’s in really great physical shape. It hurts me because 70 is just too young for that,” Irsay said of Bowlen before turning to Wilson. “It’s tough because as time goes along, you lose some guys and it’s hard to lose such great friends.”