On Monday, the San Francisco 49ers celebrated "87 Day" presented by Devcon Construction. "87 Day," also known as Dwight Clark Day, is an annual tradition that began in 2017. As the team wrapped up their last day of open practices, they honored and remembered 49ers legend Dwight Clark.
Clark was drafted by the 49ers in the 10th round (249th overall) of the 1979 NFL Draft. He spent his entire nine-year playing career with San Francisco (1979-87), appearing in 134 regular season games and registered 506 receptions for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns. The wide receiver is best known for "The Catch," a play from the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys when quarterback Joe Montana threw to the back of the end zone and Clark leaped high and hauled the ball in with his fingertips to send the 49ers to their first Super Bowl and launch an NFL dynasty.
Clark helped the 49ers in winning 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. Clark was named First-Team All-Pro in 1982 after leading the NFL with 60 receptions. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 1982 and 1983. In 1982, Clark was the recipient of the Len Eshmont Award, which is given annually to the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, a member of the original 1946 49ers team. The No. 87 jersey worn by Clark was retired in 1988.
In May 2017, Clark revealed that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease," or ALS. The 49ers icon passed away from the disease on June 4, 2018.
His legacy is carried on by the 49ers through the remembrance of "87 Day." In honor of Clark, the 49ers organization raised awareness for individuals diagnosed with ALS and their families.
As part of the team's celebration, the 49ers welcomed two ALS organizations – ALS Association and Augie’s Quest – as honorary guests. Furthermore, all ticket proceeds from "87 Day" were donated by the 49ers Foundation to the Golden Heart Fund, an organization ideated by Clark that strives to provide comprehensive support to 49ers players after their football careers end.
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. Additionally, 49ers coaching staff, front office members and fans sported Clark's No. 87 in celebration of his life and legacy.
"Dwight was a really special teammate and human being," Turner said. "It's a special day for us to remember who Dwight was and bring awareness. We want to continue to make people aware about the difficult challenges and fight that ALS is."
View the top photos as the 49ers honored the career of Dwight Clark at 87 Day presented by Devcon.