OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The San Francisco 49ers celebrated the last man to wear their red number 87 jersey on Wednesday.
Dwight Clark is part of the most iconic moment in the team franchise's history, but since his passing last year, he's become the symbol of something else— the effort to combat ALS, the disease that took his life.
Attendance at 49ers training camp on what was dubbed, Dwight Clark Day, demonstrated what Clark continues to mean for the team.
The sidelines were crowded with 49er alumni, most of them Clark's former teammates.
"He's helping you, knowing that you're trying to take his spot, but that didn't matter to him because he was a team player. It was all about a brotherhood with him. He felt like this: If you succeed, the team succeeds. He succeeds," said John Taylor who played for the 49ers from the mid-'80s through the '90s. He said what Clark taught him, helped him during his time with the team.
Others chimed in with their praise.
"I think that's why we were so good, because our receivers. Dwight was one of them, if not the history of the NFL," said Dwight Hicks. He played safety for the team from 1979 to 1985.
"I just miss him as a person. That smile, the embrace, no matter what it was," said former 49ers wide receiver Mike Wilson.
The current generation of 49ers is too young to have a personal memory of the play known simply as 'The Catch'. It happened in January 1982, but it's something that still reverberates throughout the organization.
"For Joe to keep it alive and then to give Dwight a chance in the back of the end zone, to put it in the only spot you could put it, it's a once in a lifetime play right there," Jimmy Garopolo said.
It's still hard to believe Dwight Clark is no longer with us, but even if you're not old enough to remember the catch, the day was a reminder how important that moment and that guy is to this organization.