SBD/March 19, 2014/Franchises

Colts' Irsay Enters Treatment Facility, Daughter To Run The Team In His Absence

Grigson will continue to oversee day-to-day football operations for the Colts
Carlie Irsay-Gordon, the daughter of Colts Owner Jim Irsay, will "fill her father's role" with the franchise after he "entered a treatment facility" Monday, according to Stephen Holder of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Irsay will stay at the facility "for an undetermined length of time" following his arrest early Monday morning for DUI. Irsay's absence is "not expected to be a major impediment to their success," as it is "likely the franchise can run seamlessly in his absence, both as a football team and business." While Irsay is "intimately involved in both areas of the franchise, the team -- like most in the NFL -- is structured in such a way that it can function without him." Football operations will "continue to be run on a day-to-day basis" by GM Ryan Grigson and his staff. Free agent signings are still being executed around the NFL, but ESPN analyst and former Packers exec Andrew Brandt said that the "advance planning and discussion of offseason moves could mitigate any interruption caused by Irsay's absence" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/19). ESPN's Adam Schefter said the concern within the NFL and the Colts' organization "is with Jim Irsay as an individual, making sure that he gets the help and the treatment that he needs right now to move forward in his life." Schefter: "There are people in that organization who have had some suspicions about him in recent weeks and months, and I think they want to see him get the attention he now needs before we see what happens in terms of discipline." The league's personal conduct policy "will be in effect here," and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "will go ahead and issue appropriate discipline at the appropriate time" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/18).

CALL TO ACTION: THE MMQB's Peter King wrote of potential discipline to be doled out by Goodell, "I don’t think this is going to be a tough call. ... History says it won’t be, even though Goodell has never had to discipline an owner for substance abuse or driving while impaired in his eight years on the job." Goodell’s history "shows he’s short on sacred cows," and he "knows everyone is watching the Irsay case." King: "He knows he’s going to have to be compassionate but tough on Irsay. I think he will be. ... I think a fine plus a suspension from any team-related activities will likely be Goodell’s discipline if the charges against Irsay are true. And if true, the discipline will certainly be justified" (MMQB.SI.com, 3/18). Fox' Mike Pereira said of Goodell, “It is not new territory for him to punish an owner, and I think he is going to have to do that here” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 3/18).
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