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Tunch Ilkin, who was diagnosed with ALS last September, announced his retirement today after 23 years as a color analyst on the Steelers Radio Network. Ilkin also spent 13 of his 14 NFL seasons as an offensive tackle for the Steelers (1980-92).
Ilkin was a big part of the Steelers organization and was loved by everybody, especially the offensive linemen, as Ilkin and his former teammate and radio partner Craig Wolfley, who was also an offensive lineman, loved to talk about line play.
Center/guard B.J. Finney talked about what Illkin meant to him when he spoke with the media after today's OTAs practice.
"I don't know if you can really put a value on it," Finney said via Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. "Tunch is a titan, man. He came in, worked with all of us when we wanted work. He's always talking to us about what we're doing, techniques and things that he's learned, and has just been a great guy, a great mentor to anybody and everybody that's asked him for information or help.
"It stinks because I love seeing him around the place. Now, I'm going to have to go visit him at his house on Mt. Washington. He and 'Wolf' (former teammate and broadcasting partner Craig Wolfley), always together, now we're kind of wondering what that's gonna look like ourselves. But love Tunch, wish him the best in what he's going to have to fight and go through, and hope he knows that we all have his back and we'll do anything for him every step of the way."
Ilkin will surely be missed as a color analyst on the Steelers Radio Network, along with his radio show with Wolfley and his appearances on Steelers.com during training camp at Saint Vincent College. He was always a great voice to listen to and his passion for the game was impeccable. He came off as pure and natural.
"I have had 37 years in the NFL, with 14 as a player and the last 23 in broadcasting as the color analyst on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, and I've decided to retire," Ilkin said in a statement released by the team. "I was diagnosed with ALS in September 2020, and I want to spend this time focusing on my treatment and fighting this disease. I would like to thank Steelers President Art Rooney II, the Steelers organization, and the fans for their continued support and prayers at this time."