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Colts owner Jim Irsay agrees to plea deal

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

When -- and to what extent -- will the NFL punish Jim Irsay? (USATSI)
When -- and to what extent -- will the NFL punish Jim Irsay? (USATSI)

Colts owner Jim Irsay has reached a plea agreement with Indianapolis prosecutors in his impaired driving case stemming from a March 16 arrest, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Irsay had been scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 30.

"I can confirm that Mr. Irsay's case has been set for a change of plea hearing" Andre Miksha, a spokesman for the Hamilton County prosecutor, told the Star. "I cannot provide any details of -- or even verify the existence of -- an agreement unless and until one would be tendered to the Court at such a hearing."

Prosecutors allege that Irsay had "oxycodone and/or hydrocodone" at the time of his arrest, and according to police records, officers "continuously had to support Irsay in order to prevent him from falling over."

Typical sentences in such cases include a 60-day suspended jail sentence and one year's probation, attorney Steven Stoesz told the Star. Irsay could also face an additional 90-day suspended sentence because he refused a blood test after being arrested.

Media, players and fans will be watching closely to see how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has a history of coming down hard on players who run afoul of league rules, punishes the owner.

"He is seeking help and he's done that voluntarily," Goodell said in March, a week after Irsay's arrest. "Obviously any policies or laws that are broken, whether they are commissioner, player or coach, those are subject to discipline."

In the days following Irsay's arrest, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted this:

And days later, Seahawks offensive lineman Eric Winston told TheMMQB.com's Peter King, "If protecting the shield is the most important thing, and owners are the ones most responsible for the league's future, the owners have to be held to a higher standard. So I don't understand how we can be talking about comparing the punishment of a player to what the league might do to an owner. Owners should be held to the highest of standards. And I can tell you, players are watching. A lot of players are watching. This has been on players' minds for quite a while.”

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