Tunch Ilkin (born Tunç Ali İlkin, September 23, 1957 in Istanbul) is a Turkish American former sports broadcaster and a former American football player. He served as a television and radio analyst for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 to 2020. He is distinguished as being the first Turk to play in the National Football League.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilkin's parents Mehmet and Ayten Ilkin emigrated to the United States when he was two years old and settled in the Chicago area. He attended Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois where he won All Conference and All County honors as a football player. In 1975, he was granted an athletic scholarship to Indiana State University. He was chosen by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft.
He played offensive tackle for the Steelers from 1980 to 1992, earning two Pro Bowl appearance honors (1988 and 1989). He played for the Green Bay Packers in 1993 before retiring from football. He served as Vice-President of the NFL Player's Association from 1989 to 1994.
After retiring from football, Ilkin began appearing as a commentator and sports reporter on sports broadcasts in the Pittsburgh market. His popular segment, titled Lunch with Tunch, featured interviews with Steeler players and coaches.
In 1998, he joined the official Steelers broadcasting team of Myron Cope and Bill Hillgrove as an analyst. After Cope's retirement following the 2004 season, the team decided not to replace Cope and Ilkin took on the color-commentary duties once carried by Cope. He worked alongside sideline reporter and former teammate Craig Wolfley, who like Ilkin joined the Steelers via the 1980 draft. Ilkin and Wolfley hosted a morning radio show... ...read more