It's time for some NFL intervention.
Jim Irsay needs it.
If they haven't already, a group of fellow NFL owners needs to descend on Irsay's home to personally persuade the Indianapolis Colts owner to check himself into drug rehab.
Hopefully, with issues in the public domain now, Irsay will see the light himself and seek the treatment that people close to him wished he would have had years ago.
Maybe that's the best thing that will come from Irsay's arrest in Carmel, Ind., late Sunday. Getting popped for suspicion of DUI is compounded by the four felony charges stemming from possession of controlled substances.
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It's a bit stunning that a man of his means would be driving himself — so erratic that he was pulled over — in the middle of the night. Thank goodness, it wasn't worse. Nobody was hurt.
When players have been caught up in DUI situations, it's reflective to ask: With the money they are making and support resources available, why are they driving?
That was the question being asked in Dallas in 2012, when Jerry Brown was killed during a drunk-driving accident in a car driven by his teammate and friend, Josh Brent. What was Brent, with a blood-alcohol content twice the legal limit, doing behind the wheel?
Often, though, the people who need to tap into resources are the last to admit it.
I wonder if that's the deal with Irsay.
He has acknowledged drug addiction and rehab stints in the past and will have his day in court.
But there also are NFL laws that Irsay will be subjected to.
At the minimum, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to put it in writing as part of whatever discipline he imposes on Irsay — who, as a team owner, is one of his bosses — for violating the league's sacred personal conduct policy. Rehab must be an ironclad condition attached to whatever fine and/or suspension Goodell imposes.
If it seems premature to conclude that Irsay needs to be disciplined, think again.
Even if this matter somehow is resolved, legally, as a big misunderstanding — and Irsay actually has prescriptions for the undisclosed controlled substances police found that, as Schedule IV, are on the low end of the drug continuum — that doesn't undo the damage inflicted on the NFL shield.
Goodell often talks about protecting the league's logo — and thus, its image — with reverence. As he has occasionally done in dealing with players, he doesn't have to wait until legal matters are resolved to act. He should act quickly. The shield has taken a hit.
Irsay is the first NFL owner to face serious charges since former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, the newest member of the fraternity, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, is trying to restore the reputation of his company, Pilot Flying J, amid a federal probe and fraud charges against a number of Haslam's key employees.
When seen in recent months, Irsay's weight loss has been extremely noticeable. He looked emaciated and appeared to be in pain as he moved gingerly.
That Irsay had a prescription for pain medication, as indicated in the police report, is no surprise.
Nonetheless, Irsay should be held to a higher standard than players, as the league contends is the case when coaches and management figures violate the conduct policy.
If Irsay is guilty, that standard demands punishment. It also needs to include help — the mandatory kind.
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