Since 2017, the San Francisco 49ers honor NFL legend Dwight Clark (whose jersey number was “87”) every year to celebrate his efforts, both on and off the field. The beloved wide receiver is best known for “The Catch,” an extraordinary play during a game against the Dallas Cowboys when quarterback Joe Montana threw to the back of the end zone and Dwight Clark leaped high and caught the ball in with his fingertips to send the 49ers to their first Super Bowl. Clark helped the 49ers win all five of the team’s Super Bowl Championships, two playing for the team and three more as a part of the team’s front office as General Manager.
It was in May 2017 that Dwight revealed that he had ALS, and he died from the disease on June 4, 2018. Since then, his legacy has been carried on by the 49ers through their annual remembrance of “87 Day,” also known as “Dwight Clark Day,” which is celebrated every August 7, in reference to Clark’s jersey number.
This year, as the team wrapped up their last day of open practices, the 49ers organization honored and remembered the 49ers legend and raised awareness for people living with ALS and their families. Many 49ers alumni came out to the team’s final open practice to celebrate “87 Day,” including Eric Wright, Jesse Sapolu, Ernie Hughes, Steve Bono, Guy McIntyre, Dana McLemore, Dan Bunz, Keena Turner, Dennis Brown, Dwaine Board and John Paye. In addition, 49ers coaching staff, front office members, and fans sported Clark’s retired jersey number “87” on t-shirts and hats, in celebration of his life and legacy.
As part of the team’s celebration, the 49ers welcomed ambassadors from two ALS organizations – ALS Golden West and Augie’s Quest – as honorary guests. The day included a warm and meaningful greeting from General Manager and NFL alumuni, John Lynch, watching a practice in the Community Corner, along with cupcakes and player autographs after practice.
Through past programmatic experiences, including Training Camp Community Corner and a presence at our Walk to Defeat ALS, Champions for Cures and Care gala, and other Community Outreach events, the 49ers support the fight against ALS alongside ALS Golden West, to raise funds and awareness, advance research efforts, pursue public policy initiatives, and provide professional care services to families facing ALS. All of us at Golden West are grateful for the ongoing support of the San Francisco 49ers.