2023 Newsmaker: Irsay secures talent, donates to Farm Aid

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Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts owner (Courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)

For Colts owner Jim Irsay, who often recites song lyrics, a David Bowie quote could summarize 2023: “I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

In February, the Colts hired Shane Steichen as head coach, ending Irsay’s unconventional experiment that placed Jeff Saturday in the role for eight games of the 2022 season.

In April, the team selected a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft for the third time in a quarter century. Anthony Richardson will need to bounce back from a shoulder injury that cut short his rookie season to replicate the winning ways of predecessors Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

The team’s primary drama this year centered on Jonathan Taylor’s contract. After the Colts declined Taylor’s request for a new deal, the running back asked to be traded. The impasse ended four games into the season with a three-year, $42 million contract extension.

In September, Irsay donated $1 million to Farm Aid when his all-star rock band performed as part of the sold-out benefit concert at Noblesville’s Ruoff Music Center. Earlier in the year, Irsay displayed his collection of pop culture memorabilia and sang for crowds at Lucas Oil Stadium and Boston’s TD Garden.

“Kicking the Stigma,” an Irsay family initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders, donated $1.1 million in August to 26 Indiana not-for-profits.

Irsay, listed at No. 267 on the latest Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $4.3 billion, also pledged $20 million to help relocate a 57-year-old orca named Toki from a Miami aquarium to coastal waters between Seattle and Vancouver. However, Toki died in August before the move could happen.•

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