Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark, whose iconic reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game will be forever known as “The Catch,” gave an emotional speech Sunday as his team honored him during halftime of Sunday’s game against Dallas.
Clark, 60, is fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “Dwight Clark Day” at Levi’s Stadium gave the former NFL star a chance to say thanks and reunite with his former teammates, the Mercury News reported.
“I think you all know I’m going through a little thing right now,” Clark told the crowd. “And I need your prayers and thoughts. I appreciate those that you’ve been giving me.”
Clark spoke from a private suite at Levi’s Stadium during halftime of the 49ers’ a 40-10 loss to Dallas, the team he beat for “The Catch.”
Clark is in a wheelchair because of the terminal neuromuscular condition that affects his ability to move, speak, eat and breathe, the Mercury News reported. Clark revealed in March that he was battling the fatal disease. The 49ers asked him what they could do, and Clark asked for a reunion with his teammates, “So I could see them one more time.”
Thirty-seven members of that 1981 Super Bowl champion squad returned to pay tribute, along with former team owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the Mercury News reported.
Clark is best known for his 6-yard grab with 58 seconds left against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982.
The 49ers would win five Super Bowls, but the catch and victory was the springboard for the team’s future successes.
“He’s very well known to all you 49ers fans and, oh, yeah, to you Cowboys fans, too,” said Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who threw that game-winning pass. “Any time you turn on the NFL and you’re watching TV, you’ll see him flying high in the back of that end zone and making one of the most iconic catches in NFL history.”
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