San Francisco 49ers unveil season-long plan to honor Dwight Clark, statue of The Catch

On Wednesday morning, the San Francisco 49ers unveiled a plan to memorialize late receiver Dwight Clark throughout the 2018-19 season, plans that include a field marking, a helmet decal and a statue of The Catch to be installed at Levi’s Stadium.

A 49ers Hall of Famer, Clark announced last March that he had ALS — Lou Gehrig’s Disease — and he passed away on June 4.

Following a private screening of NBC Sports Bay Area’s “Letters to 87” at the 49ers Museum for Clark’s former teammates, family and those who wrote to him in his final months, 49ers President Al Guido detailed multiple ways the team will honor Clark, whose catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC title game sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl.

It won’t be the first time San Francisco has honored Clark.

In 2017, the 49ers paid tribute to Clark on Oct. 22, when they played the Cowboys, as they will to open the preseason on Thursday. At halftime during that game, Clark himself gave an address to his teammates, coaches and fans.

As part of this year’s tribute, all 49ers players will wear “87” helmet decals throughout the season, and Levi’s Stadium field bunting will pay tribute to Clark during all 49ers games.

San Francisco’s nationally-televised game on Oct. 21 against the Los Angeles Rams will feature the unveiling of statues depicting The Catch outside of Levi’s Stadium. Weighing in at 350 pounds each, the statues of Clark and Joe Montana will be placed 23 yards apart, the same distance the two men were during The Catch. Clark’s statue will feature his hands extended into the air, and will be 11 feet high.

During the game, the playing field will feature a golden “87” inscribed in a football shape marking in the north end zone, commemorating the location of “The Catch,” which occurred at the now-demolished Candlestick Park.

The Rams game will also serve as the annual 49ers Alumni Game, and funds will be raised throughout the weekend to support Clark’s charity of choice, the Golden Heart Fund. The fund was established in 2016 to support 49ers alumni in need of financial, medical, psychological or emotional support.

All 49ers proceeds from the season-long sale of Dwight Clark Day t-shirts and Dwight Clark merchandise currently in-stock at the 49ers Team Store at Levi’s Stadium and at will be donated to the Golden Heart Fund.

Dwight’s fur coat, worn during the January 25, 1982 Super Bowl XVI parade, is coming to the 49ers Museum and will be on display at the start of the 49ers 2018 regular season. Half of all proceeds from museum ticket sales go to support the Golden Heart Fund.

The documentary, “Letters to 87,” will air commercial-free on Tuesday, Aug. 21, on NBC Sports Bay Area at 8 p.m. PST. It features letters from fans to Clark as he battled ALS.

Ryan Gorcey
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Ryan Gorcey

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