Dwight Clark died Monday after an almost three-year battle with the awful disease known as ALS at the age of 61. #87 was famous for one play—“The Catch”—but did so much more than that. He was a beloved teammate, friend, and family man who always made people smile and laugh. Go on social media and read what some of the people in the Football world are saying. His role in Beav’s World is huge in that he impacted owners and the guy who was in the stands in January 1982 when Joe Montana threw that pass. You could not find a better person to act as an ambassador for the sport and the entire NFL is hurting today.
My two favorite Michigan Wolverines are Kathy Hoekstra and Tom Brady. For different reasons but the same context—they love me for me. One lost a guy who won the first ring for her favorite NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers. For my Pats fan friends, this is Adam Vinateri. One lost one his idols and parts of his childhood. A young Tommy was four years old and in the stands, crying. He met him while visiting a doctor they shared and #12 was not disappointed. You want to get my attention, messing with me is a low-percentage bet. My friends? Not a good idea for your short or long-term health and happiness. A really awful, disgusting disease took down a special person in their lives and that pisses me off.
I met Mr. Clark when I worked for the Michigan Football team in the 90s. I asked if I could talk to him privately. He said sure. I told him this exact story—I remembered Bill Walsh, the 49ers Hall of Fame coach—visiting Clark’s Clemson teammates for a pro day workout. He called Dwight’s college roommate, quarterback Steve Fuller, and #87 answered the phone. The Tigers featured a power run option attack and Clark caught 33 balls with three touchdowns. FOR HIS CAREER. Fuller needed someone to run routes and Walsh liked what he saw and took the 6’4” receiver in the tenth round. Because he didn’t play golf and went to help his friend. SMH.
The part of this story that was important to me—as a young kid—was it showed Dwight Clark was a great teammate and friend. And because he went and caught balls from his buddy—for maybe 30 minutes. He is a lead story on every sports show tonight. If Dwight did not help his roommate, this would not happen. And I told Mr. Clark that he showed me everybody is important when you’re on a team and because of his attitude, we are talking about him today. Next time someone wonders why I always take a call or listen to someone, remember that. Imagine if Dwight did not answer. I will never have that problem. I always do. Because of Dwight Clark.
I get asked a lot about Tom Brady and what he is like. The book is never coming. Kathy and some of inner circle get a brief glimpse and most of you would not know about our friendship without outside forces—via the Deflategate controversy and Michigan Football hire in 2016 putting us in the spotlight. We didn’t seek it, it just happened. Let it be known, whenever I do anything TB related, I run it by him. To quote the Rock, “I know my role.” 23 years of friendship speaks for itself. He is special, special guy and all you need to know about him—MY FRIEND—is in this post. #RIP