A NFL está de luto. Dwight Clark, um dos grandes ídolos da história do San Francisco 49ers, faleceu nesta segunda-feira aos 61 anos vítima da esclerose lateral amiotrófica (ELA), doença degenerativa contra a qual Clark lutava há anos. A esposa dele, Kelly Clark, confirmou a notícia através do Twitter.
I’m heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband. He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most. I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS. Kelly Clark.
— Dwight Clark (@DwightC87) June 4, 2018
Dwight Clark foi draftado pelo San Francisco 49ers na 10ª rodada (na época o Draft era mais longo), mesmo ano em que a franquia escolheu Joe Montana no 3º round. O grande momento de sua carreira não demoraria muito para acontecer. Na final da NFC da temporada 1991, Clark fez uma recepção dentro da endzone enquanto faltavam seis segundos para o fim do jogo que deu a vitória ao 49ers contra o Dallas Cowboys. O lance ficou imortalizado com o nome de ‘The Catch’.
No dia 19 de março de 2017 o jogador revelou sofrer de esclerose lateral amiotrófica, a mesma doença degenerativa da qual sofria o famoso físico britânico Stephen Hawking. Um ano e dois meses depois a sua esposa usou o Twitter para anunciar o falecimento de Clark aos 61 anos. O mundo da NFL está de luto e muitos jogadores e ex-jogadores se manifestaram nas redes sociais:
— Joseph Montana (@JoeMontana) June 5, 2018
Love you bro Dwight Clark!! RIP
— jerryrice (@JerryRice) June 4, 2018
Really saddened by the loss of Dwight Clark. He was so much more than a football player. He was so kind and happy. Such a pure human spirit. Our hearts are with his family.
— Joe Staley (@jstaley74) June 4, 2018
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Dwight Clark was one of my idols growing up in San Mateo. I was lucky enough to be at the game where my hero Joe Montana perfectly placed the game winning throw/catch to Dwight in the corner of the end zone to beat the cowboys in the 1981 season. I was 4 years old and cried to my parents the entire first half because I couldn’t see the field when the grown ups would stand and scream for the 49ers. I got a chance to meet him when we happened to share the same orthodontist in San Mateo and I sabotaged one of his visits just to meet him and shake his hand. He was incredibly gracious to me that day as a young boy. And I never forgot the impact he made on me as all of our heroes do. I am sad tonight hearing of his passing of ALS but I know he is now resting and at peace finally after many years valiantly fighting such a terrible disease. Thank you for the great memories and RIP! 🙏🏼