Podolak ready to return to Iowa radio booth

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Former Iowa star Ed Podolak was back at his alma mater Saturday, discussing his return to the Hawkeyes radio booth after going through treatment for alcohol abuse.

Podolak left his position in January shortly after embarrassing photos showing him at a bar during Iowa's Outback Bowl trip were published online. Iowa announced this week that Podolak, the team's radio analyst for the last 28 years, would return to the booth for the 2009 season.

The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Marc Morehouse has a great recap of Podolak's news conference Saturday in Iowa City.

"I decided to take a personal inventory and I wasn't pleased with what I saw," Podolak said. "I was overusing and abusing alcohol. It's what led to the riotous incident in Tampa. There were other incidents like that. I think it was causing a stressful situation with some family relationships, work relations and physical condition.

"So, I decided to take action. I compare it to going in for a 60,000-mile tuneup. Rust never sleeps and I was getting rusty. And alcohol was a good part of the blame for it."

The 61-year-old Podolak has lost 25 pounds in the last few months and has been sober for some time.

Podolak is aware of what's ahead. There is a drinking culture that wraps itself around an Iowa football weekend. Fans are in that mode. Podolak's Friday nights certainly included a drinking element.

"I plan on going to dinner with some friends, as I have in the past," he said. "Obviously, the celebration will be at a different level."