PITTSBURGH -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers player and current broadcaster Tunch Ilkin has announced his retirement from broadcasting as he focuses on treatment for ALS.
Ilkin announced his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in October of 2020. The former two-time Pro Bowl tackle said at the time he plans to fight through the illness.
"I want to fight this thing with the help of God," he said. "I'm not going to lie down and take this lightly."
Now, Ilkin is putting all his attention into fighting the disease, as he retires from Steelers Radio Network after 23 years.
"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," said Ilkin to Steelers.com. "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."
The Steelers drafted Ilkin in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft. He attended Indiana State before starting 10 years at right tackle for the Steelers, earning two Pro Bowls.
After retirement, Ilkin started his broadcasting career with his weekly pregame interview segment, "Lunch with Tunch." He became part of the Steelers Radio Network broadcast in 1998.
"I just had fun. I had fun," Ilkin said. "I worked with two legends - Bill Hillgrove and Myron Cope – and I had fun with those guys. And when the Steelers open the regular season (against Buffalo), you can bet I'll be watching the game."
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