Colts: Jim Irsay voluntarily checks into rehab

INDIANAPOLIS - Colts owner Jim Irsay voluntarily checked into a health care treatment center after he was arrested in Carmel on DWI charges linked to prescription pills.

The Colts issued a press release Tuesday saying that Irsay took the first step toward regaining good health.

"(Monday) Irsay voluntarily checked into a highly-respected health care facility and is committed to undergoing the treatment and care necessary to help him meet his challenges head-on. Jim, the Irsay family, and the Colts organization are all deeply appreciative of the incredible outpouring of support and compassion from our fans and the Indiana community," the news release stated.

When police stopped Irsay late Sunday, they found several prescription drugs in pill bottles in his car and he was preliminarily charged with driving under the influence and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Police said the drugs found in Irsay's car weren't associated with the prescription bottles found inside.

Legal experts said if Irsay does have a valid prescription for the drugs found in his car, those felony counts will be dropped.

Irsay has said in recent years he has beat his dependence on prescription drugs. While his arrest may cast doubts on that claim, legal experts said without a prior criminal record, there is almost no chance that Irsay will face jail, and may not even be charged at all.

"They may not file charges and the longer they wait to file charges, in my mind, means that it's less likely. I mean there's something that's giving them hesitation," Indiana University School of Law professor Novella Nedeff said.

Even if Irsay does not face criminal charges, he is facing penalties for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to suspend, fine or discipline players, coaches and owners as he sees fit.

Irsay bonded out of jail Monday, and an initial court hearing was scheduled for March 26.

Officials with the Hamilton County prosecutor's office said, on average, they file between 1,000 and 1,200 OWI cases each year.

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