San Francisco 49ers: 5 most heartbreaking moments in franchise history
No. 1: Dwight Clark was battling with ALS when he passed away, but he’ll forever be remembered for “The Catch” and being a true gentleman
Taken in the 10th round of the 1979 NFL Draft, yes the same draft as Joe Montana, the 49ers took a kid who was 6-foot-4 out of Clemson.
We’ve seen many times over the years, receivers who are taken in the later rounds are in training camp to allow the star receivers a chance to rest their legs and bodies before the season begins. Dwight Clark wasn’t going to be a “camp receiver.”
The 249th pick had chemistry with Montana right from the get-go. Clark caught 554 passes but only one lives on in infamy:
Many years had passed since “The Catch” and Clark retirement, when he announced in 2017 he had been diagnosed with ALS.
It was just after the heart-shattering news the 49ers organization, led by CEO Jed York, started to show their love and appreciation for one of the team’s greatest humans. Everything the team did for Clark was well deserved.
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During the final weeks of the 2017 season, the 49ers were putting on many events honoring Clark for everything he accomplished on and off the field. The disease was taking its toll and Clark attended the events in a wheelchair.
Among the many celebrations was “Dwight Clark Day” in November of 2017. It was a game against their rival Dallas Cowboys, a fitting opponent on a special day.
His former teammates were in attendance and there was one other special guest: Everson Walls. The former Cowboy defensive back was the man who was covering Clark on “The Catch.” Walls’ attendance shows just how much Clark was respected not only as a player but as a man.
On June 4, 2018, the San Francisco 49ers released a statement announcing the passing of Dwight Clark.
The organization, the city of San Francisco, Clark family and friends, and the NFL lost a tremendous person. But his legacy will live on forever through stories, videos, and memories passed on to generations to come.
These heartbreaks are what help shape a franchise. It’s how they navigate through the dark times to come out the other side in a positive light which determines how much stronger they’ll become. The 49ers have had their fair share of sadness, but always come out on top.