Ilkin, Tunch (1957-2021)

Card: Score 1990
Acquired: Canton Acquisition, 2012

Tunch Ilkin is one of the few natives of the nation of Turkey to play in the NFL. After attending Indiana State, Ilkin was drafted in the 6th round of the 1980 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A good sized lineman, Tunch measured in at 6’3″, 265 and was slotted at right tackle where he spent the majority of his time during his 14 season career blocking for a revolving door of quarterbacks starting with Terry Bradshaw and ending in Neil O’Donnell, from 1980-1992.

Tunch did not get his first start until 1981, and played sparingly during the early part of his career, but by 1983 had asserted himself as a full-time starter, putting 10 games under his belt. Over the next 9 seasons in Pittsburgh he’d start 133 contests, earning two ProBowl nominations for his body of work in 1988 and 1989. Ilkin signed with the Packers in 1993, but served primarily as a backup in his final season for Green Bay.

Tunch spent a lot of time working in the booth post football. He did color commentary, interviews, and worked as a game analyst. Beyond that, Tunch’s name has a nice, and unique ring to it which always resonated with fans. Ilkin recognized this and had no problem endorsing products and lending his likeness and names to causes and programs.

G/Gs    177/143

UPDATE– September 1st, 2020. Tunch Ilkin passed away today at the age of 63 due to complications from ALS.