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NFL notes: Colts’ Jim Irsay talks about battle with addiction

Colts owner Jim Irsay didn’t shed much light on the specifics of his current status with the NFL in his first interview since his arrest this spring, but he say he’s undergoing random drug tests, and the results of those tests are being shared with commissioner Roger Goodell.

Irsay talked to Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, and though he wouldn’t say specifically why he failed a field sobriety test or whether he thought he should be held to a higher standard than players, he did describe his ongoing battle with addiction that stems from the pain of back and hip problems.

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“It’s been a long path. I still have chronic pain. But it was the good thing . . . In some ways, [going through rehab] is my greatest moment,’’ he said. “It takes courage to try and overcome the difficulties you have. For some reason, it’s seen as unheroic. When someone beats cancer, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s so heroic,’ but when someone has this illness, it’s treated like you’re a leper because that person is morally corrupt, and that’s not the case.’’

Irsay said he’s been alcohol-free for more than a decade, and was still taking pain medication, though it was closely monitored by his doctors and would eventually be decreased.

And though he didn’t discuss much regarding the pending charges for operating a vehicle under the influence, he disputed some of the facts in the case. He said it wasn’t unusual for him to be traveling with $29,000 in cash, as he was the night he was stopped for erratic driving.

Browns OK with Manziel

The Browns aren’t worried about Johnny Manziel running out of bounds off the field. Or floating on pool rafts. After a weekend of partying in Texas, where he was photographed floating on an inflatable swan while drinking champagne in a nightclub pool, Manziel was on the field as the Browns opened a mandatory three-day minicamp.

The team is not making their popular Heisman Trophy-winning rookie quarterback — or starter Brian Hoyer — available to the media this week in Berea, Ohio.

Manziel has left Cleveland each of the past three weekends, first taking a trip to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles for a seminar with other rookies, and then to his home state, where in addition to having some fun, he got drafted by the San Diego Padres and attended Game 2 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio, sitting near Miami’s bench while wearing a retro Cavaliers’ cap.

Following practice Tuesday, Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine said he’s not worried about how his young QB spends his free time.

‘‘I'm not concerned,’’ Pettine said. ‘‘I would become concerned if it was something criminal and I would be concerned if it affected his job. There’s a lot of our guys, if when they leave here if they were followed around, you'd get some very similar pictures. I don’t know about an inflatable swan, but you'd still get some pictures.’’

Manziel has said he intends to keep living his life to the fullest, and Pettine doesn’t feel the need to monitor the 21-year-old’s every move.

‘‘The philosophy here is that we’re not going to micro-manage the guys,’’ Pettine said. ‘‘I was involved in an event this weekend, and if there were some cameras at certain times it probably wouldn’t have been the most flattering. It was a group of coaches out and we had a good time, but we were responsible. When it becomes irresponsible or it becomes part of breaking the law or it’s something we feel is a potential problem, we'll step in.’’

Manziel is currently listed as Cleveland’s backup behind Hoyer. During Tuesday’s workout, Manziel took snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense as Hoyer continues to be limited as a precaution while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl wideout Josh Gordon continues to practice as the team awaits word on a possible league suspension for drug use.

Guilty verdict in Taylor killing

A man identified by prosecutors as the greedy organizer of a bungled 2007 Miami-area burglary that ended with the fatal shooting of Redskins star Sean Taylor was convicted of murder and burglary, and immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A 12-person jury deliberated nearly four hours before finding Jason Mitchell, 25, guilty of first-degree felony murder and armed burglary. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy swiftly imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder, plus 40 more years for the burglary conviction.

Although trial testimony showed Mitchell did not fire the fatal shot, prosecutors say he is equally responsible for the slaying under the law.

Assistant state attorney Reid Rubin said Mitchell hatched the plot that eventually involved five Fort Myers-area men after spending time at Taylor’s home near Miami, where he saw the 24-year-old defensive back giving friends and relatives thousands of dollars in cash. Rubin said Mitchell initially tried and failed to burglarize the home alone in mid-November 2007, returning with the group on Thanksgiving weekend to finish the job.

‘‘It doesn’t matter whether they planned to kill [Taylor] or intended to kill him, he died as a result of that burglary and they are all responsible for it,’’ Rubin told the 12-person jury in closing arguments. ‘‘At the center of it all was Jason Mitchell.’’

Mitchell did not testify in his own defense but he did confess to police in a sworn, videotaped statement. The man blamed for shooting Taylor, Eric Rivera Jr., was convicted last year of second-degree murder and sentenced to 57 years behind bars. Mitchell’s lawyer, Robert Barrar, said Mitchell should be held responsible only for burglary, not for Rivera’s actions.

‘‘Sure Jason Mitchell was there. But Eric Rivera did it on his own, on a whim,’’ Barrar said. ‘‘Jason Mitchell was not a part of any plan to kill anybody.’’

Chiefs’ Smith arrested for DUI

Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith was cited for driving under the influence and careless driving after an officer witnessed him lose control and strike a light pole early Monday. According to a copy of the police report, Smith was attempting to make a turn in Kansas City’s Power & Light entertainment district when he struck the light pole around 12:30 a.m. The officer reported that Smith ‘‘appeared confused and began mumbling statements that I did not understand.’’ Smith was present for the team’s voluntary workout Tuesday but did not speak to reporters . . . The Texans say tackle David Quessenberry has lymphoma and has been placed on the NFL’s non-football illness list. The team said Quessenberry, 23, had a persistent cough over the past week and was tired, prompting him to seek an evaluation . . . Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon ruptured his Achilles’ tendon while running under the supervision of the medical staff and will miss the season. Weatherspoon had been held out of activities as he was continuing his recovery from a foot injury that limited him to seven games in 2013 . . . Offensive lineman Jonathan Martin returned to 49ers practice after missing a few weeks because of a bout of mononucleosis. Martin, who lost about 12 pounds, joined his new team Monday.

The Bengals re-signed tight end Alex Smith, who was a free agent. Smith, who spent training camp with the Patriots in 2009, joined the Bengals as a free agent from Cleveland last season and caught 13 passes for 47 yards. A wrist injury forced him to miss the playoff loss to San Diego . . . Steelers sixth-round pick Jordan Zumwalt, who has missed all the OTAs because his class at UCLA has not yet graduated, will be able to attend the minicamp practices next Tuesday through Thursday.

Rings for Broncos

The Broncos received their AFC Championship rings in a team meeting on the eve of their three-day minicamp. The sparkling rings feature the team’s orange-mane mascot atop a diamond-encrusted football amid a navy blue background. Defensive end Malik Jackson said they make his Rose Bowl ring and the three high school championship rings he owns look as if they came out of a Cracker Jack box.

Earlier, the Broncos signed first-round pick Bradley Roby of Ohio State to a four-year deal worth approximately $7 million. The cornerback said the first thing he'd do with his roughly $3.5 million signing bonus was ‘‘buy my mom whatever she wants.’’

Jaguars make a splash

The Jaguars provided a hard-hat tour of their $63 million stadium renovation, showing off the world’s largest scoreboards, a pair of wading pools, and a two-story party deck that will include 20 all-inclusive cabanas.

The Jaguars are selling 12 upstairs cabanas for $3,000 a game, with a maximum of 20 people in each suite. The price includes all-you-can-eat food and all-you-can-drink beer, wine and soda.

The eight downstairs cabanas — the only tickets that include pool access — are going for $12,500 a game, with a maximum of 50 people in each suite. Those also are all-inclusive.

Jacksonville removed 9,500 chair-back seats to make room for the new construction in the north end zone. Already, the team has sold 65 percent of its cabanas for the 2014 season.

‘‘We’re trying to give fans a compelling reason to leave the comfort of their homes and to come and watch the Jaguars in person,’’ Jaguars president Mark Lamping said. ‘‘We have to make sure the experience, when people spend their hard-earned money, is really good. But more importantly, it is unique and distinctly different than what you can get at home.’’

Material from NBCsports.com was used in this report.
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