- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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ATLANTA -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay made his first public comments Monday since he was arrested in an Indianapolis suburb two months ago.
"There's been such great support," Irsay said in a hallway at the hotel of the NFL owners meetings. "The past couple of months I've talked on the phone consistently with [general manager] Ryan [Grigson] and [coach] Chuck [Pagano] and the whole organization. Internally, it felt like it was a physical return in terms of me being there. Being at the draft it was great."
Irsay declined to talk about his arrest or stint in a rehabilitation facility. Irsay was arrested March 17 for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested.
Irsay immediately entered the rehabilitation facility following his arrest.
"I'm really not going to talk about personal medical issues or that sort of thing," said Irsay, who has a history of pain pill addiction. "Just grateful to be back and have a lot of appreciation and support that I've received."
Irsay's body looked fragile prior to entering rehab. He looked stronger Monday and at times got caught up in the emotion of being back around the team while addressing the media.
"Physically I'm feeling decent," Irsay said. "I still have a little ways to go from a rehab standpoint and everything. I'm not ready to hit the golf course yet. Eventually I'll get there, just hoping to avoid any future surgery, just continuing to physically rehab. I'm feeling OK and just trying to continue to stand up straight. The hip and back are doing okay."
Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to address how he plans to discipline Irsay because he wants to wait "to understand the facts" before making a decision.
Irsay plans to talk to Goodell while in Atlanta for the meetings, but his legal situation is "not something we're going to be discussing beyond us talking about the committees responsibilities and the effort to get the Super Bowl."
Irsay will give a five-minute pitch to the owners Tuesday for Indianapolis to host the Super Bowl in 2018. The city received countless high marks for how it hosted the Super Bowl in 2012.
"In our hearts we feel Indy is the best city to host the Super Bowl and we have the numbers to back it up," Irsay said.
13hEric D. Williams
2dSharon Katz & Hank Gargiulo