AFC South: Jim Irsay
Irsay, whose six-game suspension ended at noon Friday, sent out his first tweet at 2:16 p.m.
Part of Irsay’s suspension included not being able to interact on social media. He enjoys interacting with fans on Twitter, including having competitions for money and tickets to games.
@GoesslingESPN: Good afternoon, everyone. Hope you're enjoying Super Bowl week and all its excesses. We'll get started here. Geoff, I think it depends on what kind of a role the Vikings can see Chad Greenway still having in their defense. He's made no secret about the fact he's willing to restructure, and when a guy is that open about his willingness to take a pay cut this far ahead of time, he's probably prepared himself for the idea that it could require significant concessions to return to the Vikings. Greenway has said he's managed his money well, and he's more concerned with playing another year in Minnesota than he is with earning big money somewhere else. If the Vikings offered him, say, $3 million guaranteed for next season, I think he'd take it -- and I don't see that being beyond the realm of possibility. It would still free up more than $5 million of cap space, and Mike Zimmer has talked about Greenway's value as a leader and mentor to a young group of linebackers. Greenway has said he wants to play, and I don't know how keen he'd be on the idea of returning as a seldom-used backup. But I also don't think the Vikings would drop his salary to the point where they'd put him on the shelf. If he's back at $3 million, he's probably getting a chance to play. If there's not a role for him, the Vikings have enough respect for him to let him know that and give him a chance to move on. In the end, if the Vikings still think Greenway can start for them -- and Zimmer said at the end of the season he believed Greenway could -- then he will be back. They'll make the money work.
What do you think will happen with Jerome Felton and the fullback situation for the Vikings? #VikingsMail— Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie) January 29, 2015
@GoesslingESPN: Adam, James Felton can void his contract for 2015, and he's indicated he plans to do that. The Vikings just didn't have a big enough role for him to want to return, and even though he played at a high level when he was on the field, he doesn't fit in the Vikings' offense as well as he used to. We could see this coming last spring, and Adrian Peterson's absence only made Felton more of a miscast piece in the Vikings' offense. What if Peterson returns, you ask? Felton could be a better fit at that point, but it would still require the Vikings to use two-back sets more often than they did last season, and probably line up with Teddy Bridgewater under center. What's more, if Peterson isn't reinstated until April 15, Felton will probably have found a new team by then. As for the fullback situation? There's a reason the team kept Zach Line on its active roster all season despite putting him on the active roster for just one game. He had an impressive preseason in 2013 and looked like a fullback who could contribute in the passing game. The Vikings clearly didn't want to risk exposing him to waivers by trying to get him on the practice squad, and it appears they're grooming him to be their fullback in 2015.
@GoesslingESPN: Ooh, a nerdy cap question! I'm all over that! Here's the list:
- Matt Cassel has a $500,000 roster bonus due on the seventh day of the league year.
- Kyle Rudolph's $4.9 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year. He also has a $125,000 roster bonus next year.
- Brandon Fusco has $2 million of his $2.6 million base salary currently guaranteed against injury, but it becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year.
- Brian Robison has $2 million of his $4.15 million base salary guaranteed if he's on the roster by the third day of the league year. The other $2.15 million is fully guaranteed if he's on the roster by July 1.
- Captain Munnerlyn currently has $1 million of his $3.45 million base salary guaranteed against injury. It becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year.
@GoesslingESPN: Andrew, I think the way the Vikings handled Robert Blanton at the end of the season tells you they're not completely sold on him as a starter. He didn't start the final two games of the season after returning from a sprained ankle, and even though he stepped in for Andrew Sendejo in Miami, he played just three snaps in the season finale against Chicago. It seemed at times like the Vikings regarded Blanton as the best of their current options, and while he played well at times, he was beaten too often in run support and made a couple big mistakes in coverage. I think they'll try to upgrade the position; I talked about this at length on 1500 ESPN's Purple Podcast the other day. As the game spreads out and teams get more comfortable running the ball out of spread formations, safeties become more and more important. That's especially true for the well-rounded ones who can cover receivers and help against the run. Look at what the Seahawks can do because of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. There's your blueprint, and if the Vikings get another top-flight guy to play next to Harrison Smith, they'll be in really good shape.
@GoesslingESPN: A week from today, federal judge David Doty will hear arguments in the NFL Players Association's lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of Peterson. The NFLPA obviously would like a ruling as soon as it can get one, especially if Doty vacates Peterson's suspension and rules he should be reinstated. But Doty can take his time, and I'd be surprised if we hear a resolution to this case within a matter of days. While we're on the subject, one programming note: I see the Peterson questions coming in from all of you, and I understand the intense interest in his future. It's obviously the biggest story of the offseason for the Vikings and one of the biggest in the league. But we've covered many aspects of the Peterson situation on this blog (check here to get a taste of what we've written), and until there are some new developments, I'm going to use this mailbag to devote some time to other topics surrounding the team. Perhaps we'll find out more about Peterson's future during the court date on Friday. If there are any developments related to Peterson's future, we'll certainly cover them in great detail.
That'll be it for this week's mailbag. Hope you all enjoy the Super Bowl; remember, even if it's a boring game, it's the last taste of football we'll get for six months. Talk to you next week.
INDIANAPOLIS – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is seemingly a step closer to disciplining Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay now that his change of plea hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Irsay already has reached a plea agreement, according to the Indianapolis Star, which means Goodell is on the clock to discipline the owner shortly after the hearing.
The Colts organization and many players around the league will be keeping a very close eye on how Goodell handles Irsay.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended Friday for nine games for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. Smith was arrested in September 2013 for drunken driving. It was the second time he he had been arrested and charged with drunk driving since entering the league in 2011. Smith also had three felony gun charges dropped down to misdemeanors.
So now the question is: How will the commissioner discipline the owner? Will it simply be a number of games? A fine? Both? Neither?
Irsay was arrested March 16 near his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He had $29,000 in cash and "numerous" bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, the police report said. Irsay also spent time in a rehabilitation facility after his arrest.
The NFL's personal conduct policy says that league representatives are held to a "higher standard" and "it is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime" in a legal situation to escape discipline.
If that’s the case, Irsay might be suspended for longer than Smith.
Players spoke out earlier this year, saying they believed there’s a double standard on how Goodell disciplines.
The players, like many others, are getting closer to finding out if there really is a double standard.
The only way Brazill had a chance of sticking with the Colts at the conclusion of his suspension, which will be at least a year, was if team officials were compassionate -- the same way they are with owner Jim Irsay -- and realized the receiver has a problem with substance abuse.
That evidently is not the case.
It’s easy to question the whole double-standard thing when talking about Brazill and Irsay because both parties have significant issues they need to address.
The difference between the two, though, is that Irsay is a businessman who helps the franchise. Brazill is a replaceable receiver. The Colts proved that when they signed a receiver -- Aaron Burks -- to take his spot on the roster Friday.
Don’t worry -- Irsay will get his punishment, too, once commissioner Roger Goodell figures out the best discipline for the owner.
As far as Brazill goes, he put himself in the position of not only losing out on the $570,000 he was scheduled to make during the 2014 season, but also being without a team to play on.
He knew that he could be randomly tested up to 10 times a month because he was in Stage 2 of the program following his first suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
He still failed to avoid the temptation.
Now Brazill’s money and roster spot, which wasn’t guaranteed anyway, are gone.
I talked to Da’Rick Rogers on the final day of the Colts’ mandatory minicamp last month and he said he was looking forward to the competition for one of the final receiver spots on the roster.
“I embrace the challenge,” Rogers told me.
You know what?
Rogers and Griff Whalen no longer have to worry about Brazill pushing them in the competition.
The Colts look at Luck in the same way they looked at Peyton Manning (minus having to part ways with him at some point). They want to keep Luck under center and have him lead the Colts to the Super Bowl multiple times.
If the first two years are in any indication, the Colts are in a good position to accomplish those things with Luck. The only real question -- one that has been burning since Luck’s rookie year -- is whether he will be as durable as Manning because of poor offensive line play?
Luck has been sacked so many times (73) during the first two years of his career that you’re left wondering at times how he has yet to miss any snaps in a game because of an injury. He has shaken off countless hits to lead the Colts to 22 regular-season victories and three playoff games in just two seasons.
Still, the Colts are flirting with danger when it comes to their franchise player because of poor pass protection.
The Colts are set at tackle with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus on the left and right side, respectively.
The interior part of the line has remained poor, however.
Luck has a new center in Khaled Holmes, who played only 12 snaps last season. Hugh Thornton is the frontrunner to retain one of the guard spots, while the other guard position is uncertain. Rookie Jack Mewhort could end up starting at guard. If so, Luck and the interior part of the offensive line will grow together. Luck, in just his third season, is the elder statesmen of the group. Holmes and Thornton are both in their second season, and Mewhort has yet to play an NFL snap.
That's an understandable message from Pagano considering the Colts had three players get in trouble in the summer of 2013.
Receiver LaVon Brazill and tight end Weslye Saunders were suspended by the NFL for violating league policies. Saunders was released and later re-signed. Safety Joe Lefeged was arrested in Washington.
The last thing the Colts need is anymore more negative headlines since owner Jim Irsay (arrested) and linebacker Robert Mathis (suspended) have already given the franchise some unwanted attention this offseason.
"If you look at, every year we get the stats at the owners' meeting when guys happen to make bad choices and this is usually the time of year where the volume of that goes up," Pagano said. "We talk to them daily about it, it doesn't matter what time of year. They do have to make great choices and it's all about protecting the shield and protecting the shoe. If we make a decision, any decision, ‘Is this going to harm the shoe and harm the name on the back of my jersey?' I trust our guys. We've got good character guys and they'll make great decisions."
Let's take a look at several things to pay attention to during the camp:
Running back competition: Just like the battle for the starting guard position, we won't get full competition for the starting running back position because Vick Ballard (knee) isn't expected to take part, as he's still working his way back from ACL surgery. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, the other two primary candidates, both wore red non-contact jerseys during OTAs. So this is another competition that won't pick up until training camp. All three players will get playing time, but keep in mind that coach Chuck Pagano said earlier in the offseason they want a workhorse in the backfield.
Landry sighting: Safety LaRon Landry has been the most significant healthy player missing during OTAs. It's not required for players to attend OTAs and Landry prefers to work out on his own during the offseason. But it still would have been good if he would have popped in for some of the workouts because of the need for improvement for the defense, the transition from a seasoned veteran in Antoine Bethea to possibly Delano Howell, who lacks significant experience, and Landry simply didn't have a great first season with the Colts. The offense, as long as Andrew Luck is the quarterback, will be fine. He's shown he can be effective even without good blocking. The same can't be said about a defense that finished 20th in the league last season.
The Bjoern factor: The fact linebacker Robert Mathis (suspension) won't be with the Colts the first four games of the season has definitely sunk in. Now it's up to second-year player Bjoern Werner, who gets the first shot to start in Mathis's absence, to prove he was worth the Colts selecting him in the first round after an inconsistent rookie season. "This year it's just knowing the defense and to feel comfortable in the defense," Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "Now it's just his ability to get to the passer, which it's kind of you want him to do that in these OTAs, but he's never really going to get there because you don't have the pads on. But he's been doing a great job at least from the calls and signals and getting everything lined up and knowing exactly what he's supposed to do. It's a great situation for him."
Can Adams help: The Colts signed veteran safety Mike Adams over the weekend to take Corey Lynch's spot on the roster after placing him on injured reserve. Howell is leading the race to start, but Adams has started 73 games in his career. The question about Adams is: Does he have enough left in his 33-year-old body to help the Colts and possibly supplant Howell as the starting safety alongside Landry?
Who won't be there: Barring a sudden change of events, here are the players -- not including those on injured reserve -- you won't see taking part in minicamp. Receiver Reggie Wayne (knee), Ballard (knee) and Thomas (quad, bicep).
Irsay spoke of the stigma connected to addiction and failed recovery, and of how addiction should be viewed more like other diseases.
These diseases, both alcoholism and addiction, much like bipolar or depression and different illnesses, are still not seen as real diseases. 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 -- it's not like you're battling leukemia or a heart problem. It is that. But even in 2014, there's still this stigma.
...That stigma gets carried forward and it's unfortunate because people die and families get affected and people don't seek treatment. It's an unusual disease in the sense that the person has to diagnose himself. He has to realize that there's this genetic disease you have to deal with through treatment. My grandfather and father both died of the disease, and you realize you've spent a lot of time on this path. Certainly, I have. But with the disease, surgery and pain management can be very tricky waters.
Regardless of how an addiction starts, it should be treated as a disease. So where was Irsay when players expressed the same concerns about addictions stemming from pain management?
And have we ever seen Irsay expressing a similar sentiment about addiction as they pertain to a player who may be struggling with one and subject to suspensions and wage losses under league policy?
If he has not expressed the same sympathy and sentiment for those players that he’s now seeking for himself, I wonder if the stance is more about covering his backside than about expressing a real opinion on a broader issue.
He could be a leader and a resource for players with real problems.
Count me among those that probably say too easily that a player testing positive multiple times lacks discipline and brains. Surely some of them have developed a problem, not unlike Irsay’s. While we're discussing his addiction, we should also be considering theirs.
I reached out to Kravitz and he said he didn’t manage to steer Irsay to that topic when they visited.
Hopefully we’ll hear Irsay address that eventually.
INDIANAPOLIS -- OK, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. You’re officially on the clock.
Goodell said on multiple occasions -- starting with the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Florida, -- over the past two months that he wanted to wait to see how the legal process played out before deciding how he would discipline Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Guess what? Irsay has been charged.
He was charged with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a C misdemeanor, and one count of operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance or its metabolite in the body, also a C misdemeanor.
Now all eyes, especially those of the players in the league, will shift their focus to Goodell.
This is a situation where Goodell may have to be harsher on Irsay than he may have been any other time on a front office official because his reputation is on the line with the players, who believe there’s a double standard when it comes to how Goodell disciplines.
"The NFL's Personal Conduct Policy applies to all league personnel and holds all of us accountable," Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications for the NFL, said in an email. "We are reviewing the matter and will take appropriate action in accordance with the policy."
Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark was on ESPN earlier this week and questioned Goodell’s handling of Irsay.
"When does a charge necessarily warrant the penalty? We've seen in so many cases, Roger Goodell be judge and jury when it comes to players," Clark said. "… So here we have Jim Irsay, a guy, an owner, who has history of substance abuse, who's found in a car with over $29K and prescription drugs that weren't in his name, pulled over for driving under the influence, and now we're saying we need more information? What more information do we need than these aren't your prescription pills? You're obviously under the influence. You have $29K. There would be no questions asked if this was a player."
Clark's comments could easily be directed toward how Goodell dealt with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Goodell decided to wait for the legal process to play out before he suspended Roethlisberger for six games (later reduced to four) in 2010 after he was accused, but not charged with, sexual assault.
It should be noted, though, that Goodell’s wait-and-see approach recently hasn’t been just with Irsay. He’s done the same thing with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was arrested in February for allegedly striking his fiancée. Rice will take part in a diversion program that may allow him to avoid jail time and fully expunge his record.
Late Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams was fined $250,000 for making an obscene gesture at Buffalo fans in 2009. Goodell fined Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand $100,000 and suspended him 30 days after he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in 2010.
Whatever punishment Goodell decides for Irsay -- fine/suspension -- the commissioner must know it has to be good enough to appease the players.
A head coach that missed 12 weeks as he battled leukemia. A rookie quarterback taking over a 14-loss team from the year before. Five offensive players, including a likely Hall of Fame receiver, going down with season-ending injuries.
That's why as the organization was dealt a devastating blow to the gut by the announced NFL suspension of pass-rush artist Robert Mathis last week and the possible suspension of owner Jim Irsay at some point, there hasn't been any wavering of what the expectations are for next season.
That's not how the Colts approach things. That message was relayed more than two years ago, when general manager Ryan Grigson took over the rebuilding franchise and hired an unproven head coach in Chuck Pagano. And that was the message passed through the facility on the west side of Indianapolis after Mathis was suspended.
"We’ve had our fair share of bumps in the road," Grigson said. "We’ve had quite a bit of significant ones, but at the end of the day, we know we’re judged by wins and losses. This league is all about the bottom line, and we understand that.
"You can't sit there and cry a river when you have mounting injuries or you have unfortunate things happen because it's just life, and it's life in the NFL. We roll with the punches."
Ask anybody in the Colts organization why they haven’t fallen apart or even shown signs of cracking, and they point at Pagano.
Pagano didn’t have to overcome a broken arm or foot to return to the sidelines in 2012. He was in a nasty slugfest with cancer. It was a fight that took him out for 12 weeks, but he returned at the end of that season and hasn’t left since.
"I’ve been around a lot of teams and college teams, and this franchise is a no-excuse franchise," Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said.
Pagano doesn’t look at his illness as the reason the Colts have managed to overcome the obstacles that seem to continue to get in their way.
It boils down to trust, loyalty and respect with Indianapolis, something Irsay has constantly preached, to go with exceptional talent.
Colts southeast regional scout Jamie Moore put on a presentation last year in which he researched some of professional sports' legendary dynasties: the Montreal Canadiens, New York Yankees and Boston Celtics.
The Colts are far from a dynasty. They’ve yet to win a Super Bowl with Andrew Luck at quarterback. What Grigson and Pagano took away from the presentation, though, was the blueprint those teams used to build their franchises: being innovative, thinking outside the box and -- probably the most important of the three -- checking egos at the door.
The Colts have avoided internal conflicts because everybody has the same goal: winning as many games as possible, not worrying about individual stats.
"We laid out a foundation when we first got here," Pagano said. "We talked about a vision. We know what the vision is, [the Super Bowl banner is] hanging in the indoor practice facility. We talked about an environment and culture we wanted to create and then we talked about the process and how you go about your business."
Replacing Mathis for the first four games of the 2014 season won’t be easy. Anybody who says the Colts will be fine without last season's NFL sack leader likely isn’t telling the truth. For as much as Mathis is known for his strip-sacks, his presence inside the locker room has been just as valuable.
"Our team knows what’s at stake, same thing with Reggie [Wayne] being hurt," Grigson said. "If you lose somebody who is so significant to your franchise for a set amount of time, it's going to send everyone reeling for a second until we fall back on those things we've been preaching. Guys aren't going to have to step up in a serviceable way; they have to play at a championship level this year. Everyone does."
For so long, being in the "horseshoe" family meant staying out of trouble, proudly representing the organization and being a part of their winning tradition.
Mathis immediately released a statement following the announcement of his suspension that said he tested positive for a fertility drug. He and his wife are expecting a daughter in the fall.
The mistake Mathis made, which he acknowledged in the statement, is that he failed to check with the NFL or the NFL Players Association to see if what he was taking was illegal.
That's a mistake players should not make, especially a veteran like Mathis.
This is the second straight year that the Colts will be missing a player at the start of the season. Receiver LaVon Brazill and tight end Weslye Saunders were suspended for the first four and eight games, respectively, for not following the league's substance-abuse policies.
Indianapolis isn't done with being disciplined.
Commissioner Roger Goodell still has to determine how he will handle Irsay following his arrest for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated in March. He faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Irsay took part in the team's draft last week and will be in Atlanta for the NFL owners meetings next week after spending time in a rehabilitation facility immediately following his arrest.
There's little doubt Goodell will discipline Irsay. In March, during the league's owners meetings in Orlando, Florida, Goodell said the Colts owner is subject to league discipline for his arrest but would wait "to understand the facts" before making a decision.
The Colts will be able to get by without Irsay if Goodell fines and suspends him as expected because the franchise is in capable hands with general manager Ryan Grigson on the football side and chief operating officer Pete Ward on the business side.
The same can't be said about the Colts' defense without Mathis.
If facing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos and the Philadelphia Eagles in the first two weeks of the season wasn't difficult enough already, now Indianapolis has to figure out a way to slow down those two offenses without the player responsible for 46 percent of their sacks (19.5) last season. Mathis, the heart and soul of the defense, will also miss games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
The Colts' image and aspirations to take another step in the AFC next season took a hit they couldn't afford to take Friday.
A picture made its way around Twitter, and in it stood a sharply dressed man in a dark colored suit standing next to coach Chuck Pagano.
Owner Jim Irsay was back in his familiar setting.
Irsay had been in a rehabilitation facility getting treatment since March 17 after he was arrested the day before for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. A sign that Irsay was out of the treatment facility was when the Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward said he would give the pitch to the NFL owners about Indianapolis hosting the Super Bowl in 2018 during the league meeting in Atlanta later this month. Irsay was also up to his old habit of tweeting again on Thursday.
Irsay wasn’t just sitting around watching during the draft. He quizzed general manager Ryan Grigson about potential players they might take with the No. 59 and 90 picks. He asked about alternative options if the players they were interested in weren’t available and potential trades.
Being a part of the day-to-day activities is where Irsay, a former general manager of the Colts, feels comfortable.
The Colts selected Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort in the second round and Mississippi receiver Donte Moncrief in the third round.
"It was great," Grigson said. "He brings great energy, football wisdom, all the years of experience. He knows how to push my buttons in terms of when we're making a pick, seeing if I'm really feeling it. Same with Chuck. He looks you in the eye and wants to know about the player, wants to be able to feel that passion when you're making that pick and know that you really want that guy.
"He has a great feel for that kind of thing. He can tell when he's talking with you who you like and who you just kind of like or maybe just fills a need. He wants to know the plan. He wants to know if he's not there, what we're going to do."
It’s uncertain how much longer Irsay will be around the team. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league’s owners meeting in Orlando, Florida, in March that Irsay is subject to league discipline for his arrest but that he would wait "to understand the facts" before making a decision.
His initial hearing in March was postponed.
"We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps as it relates to any potential discipline," Goodell said in March. "Obviously any policies or any laws that are broken, whether you're commissioner or owner or player or coach, those are subject to discipline."
But for one night, things were back to normal at the Colts facility on the west side of Indianapolis.
He being Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
After nearly two months away from Twitter, Irsay was back on the social media site Thursday night. He has a history of tweeting at all hours and not having filter on what he tweets.
Irsay was arrested in March and faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He had been in a rehabilitation facility since March 18.
The Colts announced earlier this week that Irsay will attend the NFL owners meetings in Atlanta later this month.
INDIANAPOLIS -- News that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay will be in Atlanta for the NFL owners meetings is good news for several reasons.
It’s a sign Irsay is headed in the right direction after being in a rehabilitation facility for almost two months following his arrest in an Indianapolis suburb. He faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. The police report said he had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his car.
That he plans to make a presentation to the NFL owners is also a good sign, as it looks like he will continue to run the organization.
Irsay’s daughter’s, Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Casey Foyt and Kalen Irsay, will eventually take control of the team one day from their father, but the time isn’t now as long as Jim Irsay finds a way to beat the demons of his addiction problems. Carlie Irsay-Gordon has been running the team in her father’s absence.
"She expects [excellence] just like her father does," general manager Ryan Grigson said during the March owners meetings in Orlando, Florida. " ... That's something that their father, I'm sure, has ingrained in them. But at the same time, there's a tremendous amount of respect given to everyone in the building, and they display that. There's no pretentiousness or condescension. You know who's in charge, but the delivery, I think, is something that's unique in this league."
Irsay is passionate about his organization. He’s always in the locker room after games, and it’s not uncommon to see him at practice during the week leading up to a game. That is why Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano are so close to their boss.
"We miss him, love him, wish he was here with us," Pagano said in March. "But again, like I said, I'm not the only guy who would take a bullet for this man."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Carlie Irsay-Gordon, the 33-year-old with a wide range of interests, from performing arts to majoring in religious studies in college, was working on her Ph.D in psychology when she had to put that on hold.
The likely plan, the one that's been in the making for years, to have Irsay-Gordon and her sisters, Casey Foyt and Kalen Irsay, eventually run the Indianapolis Colts was accelerated because of an unfortunate situation involving their father and owner of the team, Jim Irsay.
So here Irsay-Gordon sits at the top, giving the final "yes" or "no" on decisions made by Colts general manager Ryan Grigson on the football side and chief operating officer Pete Ward on the business side.
Irsay's decision to enter a rehabilitation facility for his addictions following his arrest last month has lifted Irsay-Gordon from the shadows and into the front of the organization until her father returns.
"She'll do well. She's a sharp businessperson," former Colts assistant and current Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "She's very much like her father; she has great personality, she's extremely bright, she has a good feeling for people. I've worked for a bunch of owners, and Jim Irsay -- he talks about faith, family and football. It's real. And she has that same mindset."
Irsay-Gordon joins principle owners Martha Ford, widow of the late Detroit Lions owner Bill Ford Sr., and Virginia McCaskey of the Chicago Bears as the only females running NFL franchises.
"She never ceases to amaze me with some of the questions she asks. She has it," Grigson said. "I've told this to Jim because I know these are the things that he would like to hear. And it's why [coach] Chuck [Pagano] and I have a great working relationship with her, because she gets it. It's not like we're sitting here trying to explain things to her. She already has a really good base of knowledge, and not just from an operations standpoint with dollars and [the salary] cap."
Irsay-Gordon, who is married to an attorney and has three children, has declined all interview requests because of her father's legal situation.
Like her father, football runs deep in Irsay-Gordon's blood. She's been around it her entire life.
"I grew up in a football family, so I know exactly what it's like to grow up in a football family and be around it your entire life," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "You can see that."
The Colts are in a delicate state because they're trying to continue to move up in the AFC and they don't want Irsay's legal and personal situation to become a distraction. There's no getting around it, the situation will remain, but Irsay-Gordon isn't expected to be a boss who will constantly be looking over Grigson and Ward.
"How much interaction do we have? They have their jobs to do and we have our jobs to do," Pagano said. "The great thing about the entire Irsay family is that they hired us to do a job and they let us to do our job. So, when we have to communicate, those lines of communication are always there. They're always open. It's a great working environment, and we have great working relationships with all those people."
The similarities are unmistakable between father and daughter. They're "wired" the same when it comes to football, according to Pagano. Irsay-Gordon hates losing more than she loves winning -- much like her father.
One of the biggest differences is that you won't find Irsay-Gordon on Twitter the same way her father uses it to voice his displeasure when the team isn't living up to his expectations. She's tweeted only nine times to her nearly 800 followers in four-plus years.
"She expects [excellence] just like her father does," Grigson said. " ... That's something that their father, I'm sure, has ingrained in them. But at the same time, there's a tremendous amount of respect given to everyone in the building, and they display that. There's no pretentiousness or condescension. You know who's in charge, but the delivery, I think, is something that's unique in this league."
ORLANDO, Fla. -- To no surprise, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked Monday about what actions he may take with Jim Irsay after the Indianapolis Colts owner was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving last week.
And to no surprise, Goodell is waiting until the facts come out before deciding what type of discipline he plans to hand down to Irsay.
Don’t expect Goodell’s punishment to be light on Irsay. It really shouldn’t be that way for Irsay, who has a history battling pain killer addiction. Irsay faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance after being arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel late March 16.
Goodell can’t afford to go lightly on Irsay. Not with the players around the league keeping a close eye on what happens. You also have to take into consideration that the NFL fined late Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams $250,000 for making obscene gesture at Buffalo fans in 2009. Goodell fined Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand $100,000 and suspended him 30 days after he plead guilty to driving while impaired in 2010.
It's anybody's guess what Goodell will do with Irsay. Just don't be shocked if the NFL is harsher on him than it was on Lewand and Adams.
"We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps as it relates to any potential discipline," Goodell said. "Obviously any policies or any laws that are broken, whether you're commissioner or owner or player or coach, those are subject to discipline."