Colts owner Jim Irsay arrested

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts owner Jim Irsay faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance after being arrested late Sunday on suspicion of intoxicated driving.

Irsay, who also faces a preliminary misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, was arrested in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

The 54-year-old Irsay was released Monday afternoon, and his initial court appearance is March 26.

Police say Irsay failed several roadside field sobriety tests before he was arrested and that they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.

After news broke of the arrest, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Irsay "needs help."

The source also said that there are "fingers crossed" that the incident is a "wake-up call" for Irsay, who acknowledged in 2002 that he had become dependent on painkillers after several orthopedic operations but said he had overcome the problem after undergoing treatment.

Irsay took to Twitter after being released Monday, thanking his followers for their support.

If convicted on the felony charges, Irsay could face six months to three years in prison on each count. So-called Schedule IV drugs such as those with which Irsay was allegedly caught include Xanax, Darvocet and Ambien, which have a low risk for abuse or dependency, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

While searching Irsay's vehicle, "Multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles. These Schedule IV prescription drugs were not associated with any prescription bottles found in the vehicle," according to police.

The Colts released a statement Monday afternoon, saying that the organization supports Irsay.

"The club continues to fully support Mr. Irsay but must refrain from commenting further at least until formal charges have been filed," the statement read. "A hearing is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, March 26."

Irsay, who frequently interacts with fans on Twitter, wrote in an October tweet that "I don't drink...haven't in over 15 years."

He will be subject to league discipline under the NFL's personal conduct policy, which applies to all personnel.

The case has some similarities with that of Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand, who was suspended for 30 days and fined $100,000 in 2010 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following his guilty plea to driving while impaired.

Lewand, speaking after an appearance at the MGM Grand in Detroit on Monday night, said he couldn't make any judgments on what should happen to Irsay.

"We don't know the specifics," Lewand said. "It's not my role to judge anybody."

Irsay, who lives in Carmel, became the Colts' owner in 1997 after the death of his father, Robert Irsay, and a lengthy legal battle with his father's second wife. He is the seventh Colts player or official to be arrested since January 2010.

Forbes magazine estimated Irsay's net worth at $1.6 billion. His wife of 33 years, Meg Irsay, filed for divorce in November, citing an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage.

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