Few people in San Francisco lore hold a more exalted position than Dwight Clark, the former 49ers receiver who caught Joe Montana’s game-winning touchdown pass to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFC championship game. We know it now simply as “The Catch,” and it’s arguably the most famous play in NFL history.
Clark revealed earlier this year that he’s suffering from ALS, a degenerative, terminal disease that attacks the spinal cord and the brain. Tuesday, he spoke to the “Murph & Mac” radio show in San Francisco and gave more details on his condition. And the details are heartbreaking.
“I’m losing strength and I’ve lost 80 pounds, if you can believe that,” Clark said. “But I’m still able to use my hands a little bit. Walk a little bit. But this stuff is no joke, man. They need to find a cure to this thing because it is torture. It’s just going through all the different phases. I wake up every morning and I take that first step to see if it’s going to work. And it’s ‘OK, still walking today.’”
Clark thanked his wife Kelly for stepping up in his illness. “I’m just hoping that it plateaus at some point before I get all the way to the end,” he said. “Where I can’t move, and talk, and all that.”
The 49ers honored Clark on Sunday at halftime of the team’s game against, of course, the Cowboys. Dozens of Clark’s old teammates, including Montana, showed up to honor him, all wearing No. 87 jerseys.
Clark took a moment to thank the fans, who continue even today to remind him of that catch: “I feel so honored and humbled that the fans feel the way they do,” he said. “And I feel the same way about them. I have a great relationship with the fans. And it’s probably mostly because we have a signature moment together that kicked Dallas’ ass and took us to the Super Bowl.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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