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Podolak is back

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IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ed Podolak is returning to the University of Iowa football broadcast booth and from all indications, Hawkeye fans are energized about his return. Plus, the return couldn't have come at a better time. He'll be doing Iowa football color commentary for a 2009 UI team most pick in the nation's preseason top 20.

Podolak announced in early January that he was retiring from his position as Iowa football radio analyst after 28 years on the job. He indicated he wanted to concentrate on his own business interests. Podolak later announced -- at the urging of friends and relatives -- that he would be seeking treatment for alcohol-related issues.

With his formal treatment program completed, Podolak, a former Iowa and NFL running back, met with media members this afternoon in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena press room. Podolak announced earlier this week he would be returning to the radio booth following meetings with UI athletics director Gary Barta and Learfield Communications, Iowa's radio rights holder.

Podolak looked fit, cheerful and minus a few pounds. It was obvious the last few months have benefitted the former Hawkeye, physically and emotionally.

"I am so pleased and excited to be coming back as a member of Iowa's football radio team," said Podolak. "My short absence made me realize how important the relationship is that I have with the University of Iowa and the football program. It's unbelievably important to me and those around me. The support I've received from my family and the Hawkeye family has given me a new perspective on life."

Since undergoing treatment, the 61-year old Podolak was reflective of his current situation

"A few incidents came up which made me take a full inventory of myself," said Podolak. "I felt it was time for me to get a 60,000-mile tune-up. I received outstanding alcohol and physical therapy. I am very pleased with my progress. I feel better, physically and emotionally, than I have in a long, long time."

Podolak was in Iowa City to witness Iowa's 12th practice of the spring earlier in the day Saturday, in an attempt to get back into the flow of Hawkeye football. Following practice he held a Question-and-Answer session with the media.

The Atlantic, Iowa, native said the tremendous support from Hawkeye fans, UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz and UI athletic officials has been something he'll never forget. He cited it as a reason for working hard to become a `better person.' Podolak was also very appreciative of the strong support given by Barta and Learfield Communications. He said their continued encouragement was instrumental in getting him to where he is today.

Podolak said that he's also excited to be involved in broadcasting games for what could be an outstanding Iowa football team. A total of 16 starters return from a Hawkeye team that won the 2009 Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, 31-10, against South Carolina.

Following the press conference, Podolak left Carver-Hawkeye Arena and said what many Hawkeye fans have already believed: "Isn't it a beautiful day?"

Welcome back Buddy Boy!

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