Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's battle with substance abuse has been going on for roughly two decades, but became a national story following his arrest in March with a bag full of pills and $29,000 in cash. A report in the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, with additional reporting from Outside the Lines, details his ongoing struggles and shines a new light on the lives impacted by Irsay's addiction, including his former longtime girlfriend who died from an overdose earlier this year.
Some of the most notable details from the report include:
1. The roots of Irsay's addiction
Irsay's addiction to pain killers started in in his 30s as a result of weightlifting with Colts players. He started taking prescription medication to deal with chronic pain resulting from surgery on his back, elbow and wrist. In 1995, Indianapolis police found his name among the records of a doctor suspected of "running a pill mill."
2. Jim Irsay did A LOT of drugs
Doctors gave him 400 tablets of Oxycontin during one 24-day period and 120 prescriptions during a single year.
3. The woman at the center of Irsay's romantic life
The Colts owner had a romantic, but sometimes strained relationship with an Indianapolis woman named Kim Wundrum for nearly 10 years, while Irsay was still married but legally separated from his wife. Irsay avoided spending time with Wundrum publicly. He also bought her a number of gifts, including a 4,500-square-foot house to share. The two split in 2013. Wundrum died of an overdose in the spring of 2014. Irsay was arrested weeks after her death.
4. Irsay used Twitter to hook up with a married woman.
Jami Martin, a mother of three from Martinsville, Ind., responded to one of Irsay's trivia contests on Twitter. The Colts owner followed up with a direct message to arrange a meeting. Martin's husband found out and blasted Irsay on Twitter, "Don't feed your line of bulls---. Home Wrecker! Go ruin another family!"
5. He met a lot of Colts fans through rehab programs.
A doctor who used to run the Sober Life Alternatives treatment facility estimated that 90 percent of area residents have attended treatment programs with Irsay.
The whole story is really worth your time, so be sure to give it a read.