The Pittsburgh Steelers and President Art Rooney II formally announced the newest members of the team’s “Hall of Honor.” Started several years back, the Hall of Honor is for deserving players, coaches, front office personnel and contributors to the success of the organization. This year’s inductees will be offensive tackle Jon Kolb, defensive back Carnell Lake, wide receiver Louis Lipps and offensive lineman/team media member Tunch Ilkin.
One of the reasons the Hall of was created was to honor those who may have had significant careers in the Black and Gold, but were not seen as Hall of Fame candidates. While all Steelers’ Hall of Famers are in the Hall of Honor, this provides others with a final opportunity to be recognized for their achievements. Of the four nominees, only Kolb has a Super Bowl title to his name.
Speaking of Kolb, he was a vital part of the Steelers’ success of four Super Bowl wins in the 1970’s. He started 138 of 177 career games played and was never seen nationally as one of the best offensive tackles in the league despite being so durable especially during the team’s run of four titles in six years. One of the strongest players in the NFL, Kolb was a bulldozing run blocker while also being agile enough to be a great pass blocker as well.
Louis Lipps played the first eight years of his nine year career in Pittsburgh where he made two Pro Bowls and was named the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1984. Five times in his eight year stint in Pittsburgh he went over 50 receptions which during that time was pretty damn good. He was also an excellent return man in his first two years as well.
Carnell Lake was part of a terrific secondary that featured Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. The incredibly durable Lake played 10 of his 12 seasons in the Steel City and was praised for his position flexibility. He was named to the Hall of Fame’s “Team of the 90’s”, made five Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro in 1997. He would eventually return for a brief period as secondary coach.
I must say it is no surprise and extremely classy of the Steelers to nominate Tunch Ilkin for this honor. Ilkin was no slouch by any means as a player but his contributions as a member of the Steelers’ media have been exceptional. Ilkin played 13 seasons for the Steelers in one of the more difficult eras. He was drafted in the season following the team’s fourth Super Bowl win and was therefore present for the decline that ensued. He saw the departure of Coach Chuck Noll and the spent the remainder of his career under Bill Cowher. his versatility earned him two Pro Bowl nods.
Ilkin recently announced his retirement from the Steelers’ Media so that he can focus on his health. He was stricken with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease over a year ago. As you may know, ALS can debilitate an individual quickly. While I’m hopeful that that doesn’t happen for Tunch, I think it’s a great move by Rooney and the Steelers to bestow this honor now.
The players will be inducted later in the season when the Steelers host the Detroit Lions.