Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke to the press Monday in Atlanta for the first time since his arrest for driving under the influence in March.
Irsay is in Atlanta with Indianapolis' delegation to ?make the pitch to host the 2018 Super Bowl?. The city will use its successful experience hosting the game in 2012 as the foundation for its pitch, and Irsay is expected to speak ahead of the 15-minute presentation on Tuesday.
Irsay did not want to comment on his personal issues. He's been in rehab receiving treatment after his arrest in Carmel earlier this year.
"It's something where I haven't been in a coma or anything like that. I've been clued in to everything that's been going on the last few months. It's good to be at this meeting and really kind of focus on the Super Bowl bid. I'm really not gonna talk about any personal, medical issues or that sort of thing. But just grateful to be back and certainly have a lot of appreciation for the support that I've received. I'm just kind of all in. It's good to see Jeff Saturday in the meeting. It feels good to be back and I'm excited about it," he said.
When asked if it was an emotional time, Irsay said, "I just feel grateful, really. It's just good to be back and good to be able to put an effort in to try to regain the Super Bowl because I think we did such an incredible job the first time."
WTHR's Scott Swan asked Irsay what he'd be saying to his fellow owners in his presentation about why Indianapolis should get another Super Bowl.
"My feeling is from the heart. I really feel we did such an incredible job the first time and we had things like the Super Bowl Village that was copied. So we were really unique in Indianapolis. We can't guarantee the same weather, but we're gonna try. The money we raised even before the bid is unprecedented. So I really think that we deserve a second Super Bowl and that we've earned it. I'm really just gonna speak from the heart to the fellow owners," he said.
Indianapolis will go third in the bid process Tuesday, after Minneapolis and New Orleans.
Irsay told reporters he has been easing back into his work in the front office, and that he's kept in touch with Coach Chuck Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson. His first appearance back in the public eye was at the NFL draft.
"Being at the draft, it was great," Irsay said. "My message is just to do what I do and what I've done over the last decade and just try to be the best steward I can for the franchise and go forward each day."
A reporter asked Irsay if he thought his arrest would have an adverse effect on Indianapolis' bid.
"I'm excited about the bid and the job that we've done in the past. I know in terms of trying to intertwine questions with that is your job, but again, I'm not really addressing those issues. I'm here like always to try to get the Super Bowl for Indianapolis," he said.
As far as Indianapolis being the front runner or the underdog, Irsay said, "You never really know because when you ask people some will tell you they're voting for you and then they don't. But then some will tell you that they can't vote for you and why. And others are open-minded. But I do think most owners go in open-minded and they want to hear the presentation. They want to hear your numbers and all those sorts of things. And I think that's where we have a great edge," he said.
"It's not avoiding an elephant in the room. It's going forward with the business at hand," he said, answering a reporter's question about not discussing his arrest.
Irsay also talked about Robert Mathis, who was suspended for four games for violating NFL police on prohibited substances. Mathis says the failed test was due to confusion over fertility drugs prescribed by his doctor. Irsay said he'd spoken with Mathis and called him one of the Colts' top players.