Tag: Jim Irsay

The NFL Has a Serious Drug Problem

NFL Star Suspended for Drug Use

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t been having a good season. Despite going 7-5 as the NFL enters its fourteenth week, the Ravens have struggled since day one. This past Thursday they took yet another hit. Star lineman Haloti Ngata was suspended for four games after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

NFL drug problem

Haloti Ngata, arguably the backbone of the entire Baltimore Ravens, violated the NFL’s policy on using performance-enhancing drugs. So, did he use steroids? What about HGH? Nope. Ngata admitted to taking Adderall.

The five time Pro Bowler’s suspension comes on the heels of the infamous Ray Rice debacle. Though the Raven’s recovered from losing Rice, they may not recover from Ngata missing four key games.

So, what’s the big deal? Another multimillion-dollar, superstar athlete took some drugs and was caught. Sounds like a normal occurrence.

Well, that’s exactly the problem. The NFL is steeped in drug culture. It has become normal for players to be caught using drugs, performance enhancing and otherwise.

Let’s take a look at the NFL’s history of drug scandals.

Why do so many NFL players abuse prescription painkillers?

Some of the Largest Drug Scandals in NFL History

The following five examples are just that, examples. A detailed exploration of the NFL’s long history of drug abuse would take days, maybe even weeks.

Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence taylor

The famous Giant’s linebacker is considered one of the greatest defensive players the NFL has ever seen. He’s also considered one of the most reckless.

Taylor admitted to using cocaine as early as his second season in pro football. Over a twelve-year career, he was suspended multiple times for failing drug tests and admitted to passing many more tests thanks to his teammates’ urine.

Taylor was also arrested numerous times, during and after his NFL career.

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Ricky Williams

ricky williams

Ricky Williams was one of the most successful and dynamic running backs of the early 2000’s. He boasted well over 1,000 yards per season at the peak of his performance.

Williams also boasted an insatiable love for marijuana. He tested positive for the drug twice, was rumored to have failed a third test, and faced suspension. Williams then retired for a year, returned to the NFL, and failed another drug test for marijuana. He continued to play pro football until 2012, despite more rumors of failed drug tests and substance abuse.

Brett Favre

brett favre

Whether you loved him or hated him, you had to admire Brett Favre. One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever pick up a pigskin, Favre played in the NFL for twenty years. He’s also the only quarterback ever to pass for over 70,000 yards, have over 6,000 completions, and over 10,000 pass attempts. That’s impressive.

Equally impressive was Farve’s love for prescription painkillers. During the 90’s, Favre developed an addiction to Vicodin and alcohol that, at its peak, caused him to suffer a seizure.


Jim Irsay

jim irsay

The owner of the Indianapolis Colts is no stranger to making bold decisions about his team. In 2012, he cut superstar quarterback Peyton Manning’s contract. Irsay is also no stranger to accusations of drug use.

Irsay’s struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers since the mid 90’s. He’s been to treatment twice, been arrested, been suspended, and faced monster fines.

Is Jim Irsay an addict?

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle seahawks

The 2013 Super Bowl champions are undoubtedly a team to be reckoned with. The Seahawks are widely considered to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. From 2011 on, they’ve also been one of the most controversial.

Since 2011, six Seahawks players have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. They are: defensive end Bruce Irvin, cornerback Richard Sherman, cornerback Brandon Browner, safety Winston Guy, offensive lineman Allen Barbre, and offensive lineman John Moffitt.

The Seahawks definitely take the cake for having the most players involved in a substance abuse scandal.

Many NFL players take Adderall…but why?

From Successful NFL Owner to Addict

jim irsay drugs addict arrestJim Irsay: Billionaire Colt’s Owner and… Addict?

If you’re a football fan, Indianapolis Colt’s owner Jim Irsay’s name means three things – a bold and successful management strategy, an uneven but mostly winning record, and a troubled personal life.

That last part, his troubled personal life, is why most Americans know Jim Irsay. He’s in and out of the headlines for his private business. Arrests, addictions, affairs, and general bad behavior have become Irsay’s trademark.

While he’s admittedly made some mistakes, is it fair to criticize him in the way the media’s become accustomed to? I’m not so sure.

Jim Irsay’s been nothing but open about his struggles with addiction. In fact, earlier this year Irsay sat down with The Indianapolis Star and gave an incredibly raw and honest interview.

He’s quoted in The Indy Star as saying, “In some ways, (going through rehab) is my greatest moment. It takes courage to try and overcome the difficulties you have… The disease never sleeps so you have to be proactive when dealing with it. But the journey is great because it forced you to grow spiritually. There’s a lot of gratitude and spiritual growth.”

What is ORT and why is it being called “fake sobriety?”

Jim Irsay’s History of Addiction & Arrests

Jim has a long and storied history as both an NFL franchise owner and a recreational drug user. Find a brief timeline below:

• 1972 – Jim’s father Robert acquires the Colts (then the Baltimore Colts)

• 1984 – Jim becomes general manager of the Colts

• 1995 – Jim’s name is discovered in the medical records of a “pill mill”

• 1997 – Robert Irsay dies and Jim becomes owner of the Indianapolis Colts

• 1998 – Jim’s name is again discovered in the medical records of a “pill mill”

• 1998 – Jim enters an addiction treatment center in Indianapolis

• 2002 – Police discover prescription records of Jim’s excessive pill use (over 120 prescriptions during 2002 alone, ranging from Vicodin, to Klonopin, to OxyContin)

• 2002 – Jim again enters an addiction treatment center

• 2007 – The Colts win the Super Bowl

• 2012 – Jim cuts Colt’s superstar Peyton Manning

• 2014 – Jim is arrested for possession of a controlled substance (prescription painkillers) and driving under the influence. The possession charges are later dropped

• 2014 – Jim’s license is suspended as a result of his arrest. The NFL also suspends him for six games and fines him $500,000

That brings us to today. Jim Irsay’s taken some recent hits from the media. Is it fair to call him an addict, though? Again, I’m not so sure.

Is Jim Irsay an Addict?

This is, ultimately, a question that spectators in Jim’s life can’t answer. He has to make that decision himself.

While he’s certainly displayed questionable judgment, it’s unfair to label him as definitively suffering from the disease of addiction. Only his doctor(s), Jim, and his Higher Power can answer whether he’s an addict or not.

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What Can We Learn from Jim’s Story?

The most important lesson we can take away from Jim Irsay’s history of substance abuse, arrests, and personal trouble is that drugs don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire or you live on the streets, excessive substance use always has the same result.

Another important lesson we can take away from Jim Irsay’s troubled personal life is perseverance. He’s relapsed multiple times, yet finds the strength to keep on trying. He’s been to multiple treatment centers, yet won’t surrender to drugs and alcohol.

Rather than labeling Jim Irsay an addict, let’s look to him as a source of hope and willingness. After all, if Jim can overcome his demons, surely we all can.

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