Irsay quickly gains Twitter following

December 8, 2010

Since joining Twitter last week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has talked about player injuries, compared his team's season to an epic boxing match, launched a scavenger hunt and made reference to a former drug habit.

Irsay, 51, already has more than 7,000 followers who now enjoy constant exposure to one of the NFL's wackiest personalities.

Monday morning, in the wake of the Colts' overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Irsay (@JimIrsay) mused about John Lennon and worked in a reference—as he often does—to "The Big Lebowski."

"30 years without John Lennon keeps me thinkin bout what could of been?" Irsay tweeted. "John would of loved twitter! John would of luved Eminem, Gaga, D.Chop."

Irsay proceeded to tweet lyrics from the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus," followed by a tweet referring to a scene from "The Big Lebowski," the cult-classic Cohen brothers film about an aging hippie who calls himself "the Dude."

Irsay's affinity for rock-n-roll, 1960s counter-culture and zany adventure is well-documented. In 2007, he dressed as Willy Wonka for an announcement on Monument Circle about a scavenger hunt for Super Bowl rings.

That was without the help of Twitter, noted publicist Myra Borshoff Cook, who helped orchestrate that event. "He has always looked for ways to connect with fans in a personal way," she said.

Borshoff Cook wasn't consulted on Irsay's jumping into Twitter, but she guessed that his three daughters, who are in their 20s, had an influence. "I think it's refreshing," she said.

Team spokesman Craig Kelley said that, in general,  "the response has been overwhelmingly positive."

The Colts did not respond directly to IBJ's inquiries about some of Irsay's tweets, including this one from Sunday night: "I don't drink or drug anymore. I became allergic to them. I brake (sic) out in handcuffs when I take them!!!!!"

The reference to past drug use may remind followers about Irsay's own struggles. In 2002, his prescription-drug abuse came to light through a Drug Enforcement Administration probe of a local pharmacy.

Borshoff Cook said she has no opinion on what Irsay should or shouldn't tweet.

"He commands a lot of respect amongst the [NFL team] owners. At the same time, he speaks in rock-n-roll lyrics. He plays the guitar. There's a part of him that is playful and kinda whimsical. Some of that is coming out in this tweeting thing."



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