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Local agent Jeff Clark is the brother of the backward Dwight Clark, the man best accepted for ‘The Catch’
Visit jdnews.com/sports for added photos and a video affection of Dwight and Jeff Clark.
Jeff Clark approved to action off affect as he sat central his Marine Federal Credit appointment that overlooks Western Blvd. Extension.
Clark knows this year’s NFL aperture weekend will be harder than others while the Jacksonville agent looks advanced to watching on television his admired San Francisco 49ers comedy at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
For three months, Clark has been afterwards his brother, Dwight, the man best accepted for “The Catch,” which beatific the 49ers to their aboriginal Super Bowl in the 1981 season.
Dwight died at 61 on June 4 of ALS, additionally accepted as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
And appear Sunday, Jeff knows a allotment of him will be missing. He no best has his brother a buzz alarm abroad to allocution about their affection – the 49ers.
“It’s activity to be a little blue this weekend. This will be the aboriginal time I’ve watched a 49ers bold area I can’t alarm him up and ask, ‘What the hell is that?’” Clark said. “We would do that during games. He would alarm me sometimes during amateur and aloof scream afresh adhere up.”
Jeff said he finds himself from time to time still avaricious his buzz absent to alarm Dwight if he thinks of a funny antic or if he wants to bolt up.
It’s additionally a “sobering thought’ alive he is the alone active affiliate of his actual ancestors aback both of his parents anesthetized abroad several years ago.
“That allotment is a bitch,” Clark said.
Jeff didn’t comedy in the NFL – he played baseball at North Carolina-Wilmington for four years – but may as able-bodied been a allotment of the 49ers. He aggregate abounding joys and adventures afterward his brother advice San Francisco become a 1980s dynasty.
Dwight’s bolt on Jan. 10, 1982, helped the 49ers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 28-27 in the NFC Championship game. Two weeks later, San Francisco exhausted the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 for the aboriginal of four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s.
Jeff was a apprentice at UNCW aback his brother came up with “The Catch,” one of the best memorable plays in NFL history. He recalled actuality in his abode allowance and antagonism into the alley and diving on a accumulation of his accompany to celebrate.
A appropriate time
Jeff smiles aback he relives “The Catch.” It’s replayed over and over and it continues to be a appropriate moment for his family.
“I stop in my advance and I watch every anatomy of it until it goes off,” Jeff said. “Every time, he never drops the ball. He catches it and spikes it every time.”
Then Jeff abutting his brother in Pontiac, Mich., for the Super Bowl.
Jeff was anxious the 49ers would let bottomward afterward such an affecting win two weeks earlier. Yet the adolescent Clark had added important things to anguish about arch up to the big game.
“My brother at the time was dating Miss Universe (Shawn Weatherly) and my job was to escort Miss Universe to the game,” Jeff said. “For the aggregation and for my family, I did it.”
Clark chuckled aback he told that story.
But that wasn’t the alone acquaintance he had while afterward his brother’s career.
He said he additionally abounding the 49ers’ Super Bowl XIX win over the Miami Dolphins in Stanford, Calif., and San Francisco’s Super Bowl XXIX win over the San Diego Chargers in Miami.
“Those were appealing cool,” Jeff said. “It was aloof amazing our ancestors got to adore it.”
Dwight had bristles Super Bowl rings – two as a amateur and three others aback he formed in the advanced office. Jeff said the rings abide at his brother’s home in Whitefish, Montana.
Born in Charlotte, Jeff, 55, is 6 years adolescent than Dwight, who was built-in in Kinston. Jeff, who has been in his MFCU position for about three years, was a inferior at Garinger High in Charlotte aback his brother was drafted by San Francisco in 1979. Yearly trips to Atlanta were afresh the norm.
“We went to every Atlanta game. The Falcons were in our analysis aback then,” Jeff said. “It was like a ancestors alliance because I saw cousins I saw already a year. I had no abstraction what it costed Dwight, but we were accepting 30 to 35 tickets.”
When Jeff wasn’t able to see his brother, he chatted with Dwight over the phone.
“The conversations I bethink the best with Dwight were, abnormally enough, not about football,” Jeff said. “He would alarm me aback I was in academy and ask, ‘How are you doing? Is dad giving you abundant money?’ That affectionate of stuff.”
The brothers remained abutting over the years. While they aggregate a adulation for the 49ers, they additionally enjoyed a affable bold of golf. Dwight fabricated assorted appearances to Camp Lejeune for a celebrity golf tournament.
And aloof like brothers, Dwight and Jeff approved to one-up anniversary other.
“Oh, buddy, we would,” Jeff said. “And it was mutual. If I exhausted him, we would accept to comedy checkers or article until he would win. It was about aloof rights and jerking the other’s alternation as abundant as we could.”
A fan favorite
Dwight Clark alone had 33 catches at Clemson and wasn’t called until the 10th annular of the NFL Draft.
But he became a fable with his bolt that helped exhausted Dallas. Jeff added that Dwight array of took “The Catch” and his distinction in stride, but didn’t apperception application his acclaim to accompany joy to fans.
“I don’t apperceive if he anytime believed it sometimes,” he said. “He approved to be astute with things. He acquainted assured in his talents, he was absolutely fast and absolutely big, which was unusual. But I was with Dwight aback a accumulation of bodies capital autographs and he would acquaint us he would be backward for a banquet or article because he capital to absorb time with these people.
“He said, ‘There will be a time aback these bodies aren’t continuing over here.’ He consistently had the mentality.”
But the admirers connected to adulation Dwight.
Fans from beyond the canton still bethink “The Catch.”
“Dwight acclimated to acquaint me one of the greatest things about ‘The Catch’ was not aloof what it meant to San Francisco, but how auspicious it was to see how abounding bodies hated Dallas,” he said. “People would hug him aback he went to Philadelphia, Washington, or New York. And that was alike this year.”
Dwight played nine seasons with the 49ers. The aggregation retired his No. 87 in 1988 and captivated an “87 Day” aftermost October to account Clark. The authorization will additionally account Clark with helmet decals and a statue, the 49ers appear aftermost month.
Dwight continues to be admired afterwards his death.
“It’s been an amazing outpouring,” Jeff said. “What is absolutely absorbing is how abounding calls I still get. You can acquaint bodies about admired Dwight to their soul. Their calls are ardent and it’s a mutually benign chat I acceptable with them.”
“The board is still out”
Dwight Clark was quoted on debartoloholdings.com/dwightclark.html “feeling weakness in my larboard hand” in September 2015. He added that he “constantly had pain” in his close and that he “was cerebration it was accompanying to some affectionate of assumption accident because it would aloof appear and go.”
Mother Norma Clark died a ages later.
“My mother lived in Porters Close and a ages afore she anesthetized away, he was here,” Jeff said. “He fabricated a animadversion to me that aback he got back, he would get his close arrested because he said, ‘I can’t alike accessible a backpack of sugar.’ My mother never knew annihilation about that and I’m beholden for that.”
After months of tests and treatment, Clark was diagnosed with ALS. There is no account or cure for the disease. Clark appear he had ALS in March 2017.
“The boxy bolus to absorb for my ancestors is that Dwight had accomplished the ultimate plateau in athletics,” Jeff said. “So to accept his anatomy accede to article was aloof adamantine to accomplish assignment in your mind. It aloof didn’t assume to fit.”
Dwight said during his advertisement that he wasn’t abiding if football contributed to the disease, although he doubtable it.
“The board is still out on that,” Jeff said. “It aloof picks on bodies for whatever reason.”
Clark said in a adventure on www.nbcsports.com/bayarea that he suffered three bad concussions during his career. He said already he absent vision, didn’t apperceive area he was afterwards addition and was adrift and went to the other’s team’s amusement afterward a third.
However, Jeff said that while his brother was an apostle of authoritative the bold safer, he was not absorbed in abutting the NFL’s blow abrasion action adjustment that awarded added than $275 actor to 240 above players able Jan. 7, 2017.
“Dwight said abounding times he knew absolutely what he was accepting himself into aback he active up,” Jeff said. “And he said he would do it all again.”
And Jeff will abide afterward the 49ers.
“I accept a lot of fun with my accompany because everybody is a Panthers fan and I hadn’t absolutely got there yet area I’m affairs for them. But I HATE the Cowboys with every cilia of my soul,” Jeff said with a laugh. That is a prerequisite to be a accurate 49ers fan. And I’m a 49ers fan through and through.”
Chris Miller can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by calling 910-219-8472. Follow him on cheep @jdnsports.
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