Sunday was Dwight Clark Day, also known as "87 Day," for the 49ers and marked practice No. 10 of training camp for San Francisco. In addition to honoring one of the team's legendary wide receivers, the organization also dedicates the day to raising awareness for individuals diagnosed with ALS and hosts ALS organizations as special guests at practice.
Clark is most famously known for the "The Catch," a touchdown completion between himself and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana in the 1981 NFC Championship Game versus the Dallas Cowboys. This iconic play lives forever in 49ers lore-Clark's catch was one of two crucial plays down the stretch that punched the team's ticket to Super Bowl XVI.
Coaches and staff wore commemorative 87 shirts as part of the celebration of Clark.
"It is a special day to honor Dwight Clark and all that he has done and all that he meant to the 49ers organization," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. "I'm honored to wear the shirt and represent him today."
That 1981 San Francisco 49ers team went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 in Super Bowl XVI and bring home the organization's first-ever world championship. Four more titles would follow over the course of the next couple decades, establishing a rich, winning tradition for the franchise.
"It puts the taste in your mouth," Deebo Samuel said in an interview with NFL Network on Sunday discussing the team's winning tradition. "My rookie year, we went to the Super Bowl. My second year, I got hurt, and last year, we went to the NFC Championship. I'm kind of spoiled in the mindset of making the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl. Guys that have been here as long as I have, being in that position-it's like we're there. Let's try to minimize our mistakes and get one (Super Bowl victory)."
It's only fitting that on a day that celebrates an iconic wideout of the past, current receivers flashed their playmaking abilities at practice.
Samuel, who rejoined team workouts on Monday following the signing of his three-year contract extension, continues to build his connection with the 49es starting quarterback Trey Lance. Sunday, No. 19 caught a nice pass over the middle from QB1 in the early portion of the team's scrimmage periods. The next of Lance's completions was to Brandon Aiyuk, who has been the starter's go-to target at camp. Later in the day, rookie receiver Danny Gray also made an impressive grab near the right sideline off a back-shoulder throw from Lance. Ray-Ray McCloud III also had highlight-reel worthy catch, hauling in a deep ball with one hand from quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
"Middle of camp, you start to see guys get comfortable in the offense and know what they're doing and just play at a different speed," Aiyuk said. "We're all just looking to build."
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