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Monday, March 17, 2014
Irsay 2012 interview on painkiller addiction

By Mike Wells

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance after he was arrested late Sunday night, sat down with ESPN’s Hannah Storm in 2012 (starts at 1:43 mark) to talk about his substance abuse history.

Here is part of the question-and-answer session with Irsay.

Storm: You’ve been sober for almost 10 years. What kind of difference has that made in the realm of your job?

Irsay: It makes a big difference. It is, for those who have to face it, the most critical crossroad of your life. I don’t care how tough you are. This disease is 5 trillion and 0 -- technical knockout every time.

Storm: Were you addicted to painkillers and alcohol?

Irsay: Yeah. For me, when I hurt my back and those sort of things, it was primarily painkillers. But I was in the party lane in the '70s; I’ve spilled more than you’ve drank, put it that way. (Laughter). That’s what we like to say.

Storm: What was the turning point for you?

Irsay: At some point, when you’ve fought this thing and it’s kicked your ass so much and it’s beat you so much, you get to the point where you say, “OK, that’s it. I’m done. White flag’s going up.”