Yesterday, Colts owner Jim Irsay pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of OWI He was quickly punished by the league, being suspended for six games and fined $500,000. That suspension officially began earlier this afternoon at 5 p.m. eastern. Irsay apologized for his arrest to the city of Indianapolis and Colts fans, and anyone who knows something about the owner knows that being away from his team will certainly affect him. That was yesterday - on a day the Colts were off from practice and didn't have media availability.
Today, however, the Colts returned to the practice field, and Chuck Pagano took the time in his press conference to pledge his support (once again) to his owner:
"Mr. Irsay is family. We're all family. I've been on record as saying the first time I shook his hand, the three words out of his mouth, first three words when I came on an interview even before I got offered the job, ‘Faith, family and football,' is what he lived by. He's not a guy that just talks it, he walks it. He's family and we have his back. I certainly have his back, my family has his back. Again, I will never be able to repay the Irsay family, Jim and his daughters and Meg, everybody, for what he did for me during my circumstances and the things that I had to deal with. I obviously wouldn't be here today if he didn't give me the opportunity of a lifetime, number one, and the support and love that he gave me during my circumstances."
Asked if he has a sense of what it will be like for Jim Irsay being away from the team, Pagano had a perfect reply:
"Do I have a sense? Twelve weeks' worth. So I got a real good sense. You pull anybody away from this game that has the passion and drive and love for this sport that we're so privileged to play and coach, you feel helpless. Believe me, you feel helpless. So I have a really good understanding that is really fresh in my mind. It's fading a little bit, but it's still a little bit fresh."
Of course, what Pagano was referring to was when he was away from the team for 12 weeks in 2012 while battling leukemia. So while under different circumstances, Pagano absolutely does have a good sense of what it will be like for Irsay being away from his team.
The theme of the Colts supporting Irsay is nothing new and it goes right in line with who they are. Irsay and the Colts were quick to support Pagano and Pagano and the Colts will be quick to support Irsay. Pagano said that while Irsay will be away physically, he will be with the Colts in the locker room in spirit.
But, despite the support for Irsay and the fact that they consider him family, the Colts know they need to move on. As Chuck Pagano said, it's "business as usual." Just without Jim Irsay.