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The Pittsburgh Steelers will be in the market for a new color man for their radio broadcasts starting in the 2021 campaign, as the club announced today that former offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin won’t be back this season.
Ilkin announced Thursday he was retiring as a broadcaster, ending what has been a memorable 23-year career.
The broadcaster was on hand for the crazy catch in Super Bowl XLIII when Santonio Holmes bailed out Ben Roethlisberger and the offense to pull the Steelers to a 27-23 win for their 6th NFL Championship.
Illness is stopping Ilkin from continuing his career with play-by-play man Bill Hillgrove, who has been the lead play-by-play man since the retirement of Jack Flemming back following the 1993 season.
Ilkin was diagnosed with ALS back in 2020 and has decided that it’s time to step away and focus on trying to get better off the field.
“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.
“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 announcement comes about eight months after Ilkin first announced he had been diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
This past season, Ilkin did his best to be a part of the radio broadcasts, and his Steelers radio career comes to a close after the team went 12-4, winning the AFC North but losing to the rival Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field, the first home playoff game in three years for the Steelers.
The 63-year-old Ilkin had a memorable career on and off the gridiron. He was was a two-time Pro Bowl lineman for the Steelers after being a sixth round draft pick by the team in 1980. He played college ball at Indiana State.
Tunch joined the broadcast booth in 1998.