Sunday nights are somber enough. I’m sitting and watching the NCAA tournament with my dad and thinking about anything but NFL football when an alert comes across my cell phone from CBS Sportsline.
Dwight Clark has been diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Clark wrote in a statement posted on his blog. “Those words are still very hard for me to say.”
The former 49ers receiver, who’s most famous for his iconic game-winning touchdown — which was later dubbed “The Catch” — against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, said his diagnosis came after visits with six neurologists and three ALS specialists.
“While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years,” Clark wrote, “the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest.”
When I first learned the game of football, my uncle often said I looked like Dwight Clark when I was young. Then I learned he made ‘The Catch’. Then he was the man in charge of building the Browns when they returned to the league in 1999.
This is sad news. I wish Dwight Clark and his family prayers and well being during this difficult time. I also have to wonder if there is a correlation between his time in the game of football and this diagnosis.
This was not some lineman you barely heard about. Clark had a long and successful career only wearing a 49ers uniform.