INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has been out of public view for months, said he is gearing up for the NFL draft even while recovering from what authorities described as a suspected overdose and other health issues.

Irsay said in a phone interview with ESPN that his current challenge is rehabilitating from major surgery on his lower back area that has severely limited his mobility and will keep him from being in the Colts’ draft room later this week. But he said he’ll still have a presence, adding that the team’s affairs are running per usual despite his physical absence.

“The main thing is I’m just following my doctors’ orders and just making sure the bottom line is just to get back to 100% and to do the things they say,” said Irsay, who has undergone numerous surgeries on his back, hips and extremities from years-old powerlifting injuries. “I’m just being a good patient and trying to make sure I can get back sooner than later. I’ll get back on the golf course sooner than later.

“It’s going fine. It’s just a test of patience.”

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Irsay was hospitalized on Dec. 8 after emergency responders were called to his home because he was found unresponsive and with a weak pulse, according to a police report. Officers characterized the incident as a suspected overdose. Then, on Jan. 9, after fielding questions about his whereabouts, the Colts said Irsay was being treated for a severe respiratory illness. Nearly a month later, on Feb. 6, Irsay said in a post on X that he was “on the mend” in the first significant update about his health.

Irsay on Monday didn’t directly address the December incident, but he did reference his own admissions about struggles with addiction.

“I’ve had some episodes in my past,” said Irsay, who also recalled a brush with death during a previous overdose in a November interview with HBO Sports. “It’s natural that people’s minds can run away and exaggerate.”

Since Irsay’s most recent surgery, he has managed to stay engaged with team business, he said. And he will do so throughout the draft, too.

“I don’t really see it as any different for the draft,” said Irsay, who will be virtually connected to general manager Chris Ballard, coach Shane Steichen and others during the draft. “We defer to Chris in the end. … I’ve always kind of sat back and watched.”

Irsay also intends to jump on the phone during initial welcome calls to the team’s draft selections, something he relishes in doing when in the draft room.

“What a dream moment it is for them,” Irsay said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

As he recovers, Irsay has set his sights on taking the stage Aug. 3, when he is scheduled to present former Colts great Dwight Freeney at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“It’s a special honor to be asked for the fourth time to induct one of our players,” Irsay said. “For me, I’ve always said it’s one of the greatest honors you can have as an owner just because it’s the players that are saying, ‘Hey, we appreciate you. We could have asked anyone, but we asked you.'”

Finally, Irsay turned his attention to the coming season, about which he is optimistic with the return of quarterback Anthony Richardson from season-ending right shoulder surgery. Richardson played just four games after becoming the fourth overall pick in the 2023 draft.

“We’ve just literally scratched the surface on what we know we can be in the Anthony Richardson era,” Irsay said. “I think that the fans got a taste and now we can tell how excited they are. So, it’s going to be a great year, and I think we want to see what happens when you have a guy like him play in the full season. It’s going to be really exciting.”