Updated: Jul 31, 2021
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
The Steelers revealed their Hall of Honor Class of 2021 today and the class includes offensive tackle Jon Kolb, wide receiver Louis Lipps, defensive back Carnell Lake and offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin. The Steelers will formally induct the Class of 2021, along with the Class of 2020, the weekend of Nov. 13 and 14 when the team hosts the Lions at Heinz Field.
The Steelers introduced the Hall of Honor in 2017, an idea that came from Art Rooney II, along with late Chairman Dan Rooney, to recognize former players, coaches, and front office personnel who played an integral role in the success of the franchise, from the beginning in 1933 until now.
To be considered for the Hall of Honor, a player must be retired at least three years and played a minimum of three seasons for the Steelers. Former coaches and contributors had to make significant contributions to the team and community.
Kolb was drafted in the third round by the Steelers in the 1969 NFL Draft and went on to start 177 games in 13 seasons, along with being a member of four Super Bowl champion teams. Kolb was never nominated for a Pro Bowl in his career, but he was selected to the Steelers' All-Time Team in 2007 to celebrate the team's 75th season.
During his career, Kolb was widely regarded as one of the strongest men in the NFL. He protected Terry Bradshaw's blind side from his left offensive tackle position and was a dominating run blocker, creating holes for the likes of Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier and John Fuqua.
Lipps was a first-round pick by the Steelers in the 1984 NFL Draft out of Southern Mississippi. He finished his rookie season with 45 receptions for 860 yards (19.1 average) and 11 touchdowns. He also led the NFL with 656 punt return yards. Lipps was voted to the AFC All-Pro team and Pro Bowl as the kick returner his rookie year and was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press.
Lipps played for the Steelers from 1984-1991 and finished his career with 358 receptions and 6,018 receiving yards, which still ranks fifth in team history. In addition, Lipps is fifth in team history with 107 career punt returns and punt returns yards with 1,212 and is tied for third with Ray Mathews in punt return touchdowns with three. Lipps made two Pro Bowls (1984 and 1985) in his career and was selected as first-team All-Pro twice, which both occurred in 1984 and 1985, as well. In addition, Lipps was named team MVP in 1985 and 1989.
Lake was a second-round pick by the Steelers in the 1989 NFL Draft and he would spend 10 seasons in the black and gold. Lake was voted to the Pro Bowl in four consecutive years from 1994-97, which included making it as a cornerback in 1995 and 1997. His original position was at strong safety. Lake was also voted Associated Press first-team All-Pro in 1997. He became the first defensive back to lead the Steelers in sacks in a season (six) in 1997 and finished his career with 25 sacks and 16 interceptions.
From 2011-2017, Lake was the defensive backs coach on Mike Tomlin's staff.
Ilkin was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round out of Indiana State in 1980. Ilkin played in 177 games in the NFL, 176 of them with the Steelers and one with the Packers in 1993 before his retirement. He started 143 games and was nominated to the Pro Bowl in 1988 and 1989. Ilkin was selected to the Steelers' All-Time Team in 2007 to celebrate the team's 75th season.
After his playing career, Ilkin joined the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, spending 23 years in the booth before retiring in early June to focus on his treatment for ALS, which he was diagnosed with in 2020.