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49ers to honor Dwight Clark with helmet decal, statue of 'The Catch' this season

The San Francisco 49ers will honor Dwight Clark by wearing a “87” decal on helmets this season and unveiling a statue of “The Catch” outside the stadium in October, the team announced Wednesday.

Clark died at age 61 in July

Clark died after a long battle with ALS at the age of 61 in early July.

Clark spent his entire nine-year career from 1979 to 1987 with the 49ers organization. A two-time Pro Bowler, Clark led the league with 60 receptions in the strike-shortened 1982 regular season. He caught 506 passes from 6750 yards and 48 touchdowns over the course of his career and won two Super Bowls.

But what he’s far and away best known for is “The Catch,” a leaping grab at the back of the endzone with under a minute left in the 1981 NFC championship game against the Cowboys. Clark’s score put the 49ers ahead for good, and the team went on to win the Super Bowl.

The 49ers will put a statue of ‘The Catch’ up on October 21

According to the 49ers’ release, the team will put up two separate statues — one of Joe Montana and one of Clark — outside the stadium. They will go up October 21, before the 49ers face the Rams.

Per The Mercury News:

The elaborate two-part statue will feature Clark suspended in midair while gathering the ball in his outstretched fingertips. The receiver’s hands will be 11 feet off the ground to approximate his still shocking vertical leap.

The Montana statue, meanwhile, will placed 23 yards behind him because that’s how far away the quarterback was when he launched the pass that helped topple the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game.

That’s just one part of the season-long tribute to Clark. Aside from the team’s helmet’s featuring his No. 87 decal, the field decorations will honor Clark all season, and, for the Rams game, the north endzone will have an “87” painted where he caught “The Catch.”

Furthermore, October 21 is being declared “Dwight Clark Day.” That weekend will feature the Alumni Game, and all funds raised throughout the weekend will go to Clark’s charity of choice, the Gold Heart Foundation, which “supports 49ers alumni in need of financial, medical, psychological or emotional support.” Merchandise for “Dwight Clark Day” will be available all season, and those proceeds also benefit the foundation.

49ers CEO Jed York: ‘Dwight has meant so much to so many’

Team CEO Jed York had the following statement regarding the tribute:

“Almost three decades ago, Dwight Clark’s miraculous catch launched the San Francisco 49ers into an era of excellence. Since that time, he has served as an inspirational figure to citizens of the Bay Area and beyond. Dwight has meant so much to so many and it is only fitting that our organization continues to carry on his wonderful legacy. The 2018 season provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the life of a very special man, while also raising awareness for the Golden Heart Fund, which was so dear to his heart. Dwight lived his life with great compassion for others, and we want to honor that legacy by raising funds to support his 49ers brothers.”

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