Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was found unresponsive in his home in December, police records obtained by FOS on Wednesday show. The report classifies the 64-year-old Irsay’s incident as an “overdose,” notes that “alcohol/drugs” were used, and says he was administered Narcan. The Colts released a statement Wednesday regarding the owner’s health, which didn’t mention his past substance abuse issues.
“Mr. Irsay continues to recover from his respiratory illness. We will have no further comment on his personal health, and we continue to ask that Jim and his family’s privacy be respected,” the statement read.
The health scare, first reported by TMZ, brings up a bigger issue of ownership succession for the Colts and the NFL at large, a decades-long problem that can leave families fighting for control of massive properties, and that commissioner Roger Goodell has worked to rectify in recent years. The NFL formalized a loosely-enforced process to submit ownership succession plans to the league annually. Still, family feuds and aging owners have continued to jeopardize the “orderly transition” for Goodell’s franchises, a phrase he used in 2020 to describe late Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen’s wishes in light of public disputes over his succession.
The latest example of succession drama: As the Houston Texans worked to keep their playoff hopes alive last week, owner Janice McNair’s son Robert Cary McNair Jr. applied for permanent guardianship of his 87-year-old mother and her estate—a move opposed by both Janice McNair and her other son, Cal McNair, the Texans’ chair and CEO.
As for Irsay’s plans for the Colts: Before inheriting the team from his father, in 1997, he told The Indianapolis Star, “We’re keeping 100% of the team that I’m passing on to my children.” One of his three daughters, Carlie Irsay-Gordon, led the Colts’ business operations when her father entered a rehab facility in 2014.
Succession in Seattle
While many had anticipated a forthcoming sale of the Seattle Seahawks, especially given the lifting in May of a related fee that would be owed to the state of Washington in the event of a sale, the departure of coach Pete Carroll last week left many guessing that it’s unlikely an ownership change will come anytime soon. The logic: Ownership likely would have held onto Carroll if a transaction was imminent, sparing a new hire the drama and instability.
Jody Allen has led the Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers through her late brother Paul Allen’s estate since 2018, and she has operated under his will’s instructions to sell both teams and distribute the proceeds to charity. NBA bylaws dictate that estate-held teams must be sold in a “reasonable” time period, but commissioner Adam Silver isn’t pushing Allen.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the details of a police report on the matter.