49ers

49ers family pledges support for Dwight Clark in battle with ALS

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AP

49ers family pledges support for Dwight Clark in battle with ALS

Dwight Clark’s public announcement of his diagnosis of ALS came as no surprise to many of his former 49ers teammates and friends.

Clark’s battle with the degenerative disease has been suspected as far back as when former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

On Sunday, Clark released an open letter to confirm he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Dwight has been an integral part of my family’s life for almost four decades,” DeBartolo wrote in a statement. “We are absolutely devastated. We vow to do everything in our power to support Dwight and (wife) Kelly and help them fight this horrible disease.”

Clark has shown support for ALS charities for several months, as former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason wages his battle. Gleason’s eyes are the only body parts he is capable of moving on his own.

In November, the NFL announced it teamed up with Steve Gleason to fight ALS. A marketing campaign was created, "Game-Changing Moment," which featured a series of commercials. Clark’s “The Catch” was featured. The message: "The NFL has had 1,000's of game-changers. ALS needs 1."

Two months earlier, Clark was among the former and current NFL players who donated memorabilia for a Gleason-supported auction to raise funds for Answer ALS, a nonprofit organization for research toward a cure.

Clark has lost strength in both hands -- making opening a pack of sugar or buttoning his shirt impossible, he said. He can no longer run, play golf or walk for an extended period.

“There is nothing tougher than watching a great friend go through a serious health challenge,” former 49ers teammate Brent Jones said in a statement. “Dwight is handling this adversity with uncommon strength and the heart of a courageous champion, and our family’s thoughts and prayers are constantly with Dwight and Kelly.

“I know that they are fully aware that we will continue to walk alongside them, and do anything and everything possible to help them through this tough time.”

Many of Clark’s teammates expressed support and a commitment to do anything possible to assist him in the difficult times ahead.

“Dwight is like a brother to me,” Roger Craig said. “This news crushed me. I’ve vowed to him to be here for whatever he needs from me. Whenever or wherever. He deserves all our heartfelt support.”

“To live with another of my best friends struggling with a disease like ALS is devastating,” Ronnie Lott said.

Eric Scoggins, a member of USC’s 1978 national championship team and friend of Lott, died from ALS in January 2009.

“I’m asking all of us to not only send their prayers but I’m asking you to do whatever you can to fight this disease,” Lott said. “Dwight will be a champion, which he has been able to show since I met him, since the first time he’s hugged me and to this day moving forward.”

Said former 49ers linebacker Keena Turner, “We are here for Dwight. We are teammates for life and we will not allow him to go through this challenge alone. I am proud of the courageous way he is approaching this challenge. I will be here for him and with him.”

Clark, who turned 60 in January, played nine season for the 49ers from 1979 to ’87. The 49ers retired his jersey No. 87 in 1988.

“D.C. has done so much for me as a player and friend,” Jerry Rice said in a statement. “My rookie year he showed me how to run that out route! We know him for the catch but he’s a great individual who cares about people. Please pray for him Faithful through this adversity!!! I love the guy!!!!”

Said Joe Montana, “Jennifer and I are saddened by the diagnosis of Dwight. This is a difficult time for Dwight, Kelly and all of us who love him. He is family, and in our continual thoughts and prayers. We hope the public will be cognizant of Dwight’s desire for privacy.”

Clark is responsible for the most iconic play in 49ers history – his leaping 6-yard touchdown catch of a Joe Montana pass in the NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys in January 1982. “The Catch” sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl title.

“Dwight Clark is one of those guys that lights up the room – always smiling and making you feel great,” Harris Barton said. “When I heard the news, I like others in the 49er family, was devastated. D.C. changed the course of the 49ers with ‘The Catch.’ Don’t be surprised if he changes the course of this disease as well.”

Shanahan: Carradine could be heading to IR

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AP

Shanahan: Carradine could be heading to IR

Defensive lineman Tank Carradine will miss an extended period of time with a high ankle sprain sustained in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday the team was awaiting the results of an MRI examination. The 49ers could decide to place Carradine on injured reserve, which would make him eligible to return to action later in the season.

“We’re going to have to get that and really decide whether IR or not,” Shanahan said. “Because any time you have a high ankle sprain it’s going to be a while. We’re not exactly sure how long that’s going to be, but we’ll have to decide that probably Monday.”

The 49ers expect to be without the services of linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Eric Reid, too.

Also, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Jaquiski Tartt and linebacker Brock Coyle are in the concussion protocol after sustaining head injuries on Thursday.

Although the 49ers’ medical staff no longer requires Foster to wear an orthopedic boot for his high ankle sprain, Shanahan said he would be shocked if the rookie is able to return to action Oct. 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’d be shocked if he came back this week,” Shanahan said. “I’d be surprised. We’re taking it week to week. I’m not really expecting him this week but You never know with some of these athletes. He might be there, but I’m not expecting it right now.”

Reid’s rehab is behind Foster’s, according to Shanahan. Reid sustained a left knee injury Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to miss multiple games.

Speaking at his day-after-game press conference, Shanahan said he was disappointed that the 49ers’ pass rush did not apply more pressure to Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

“We didn’t affect the quarterback enough,” Shanahan said. “I thought we did a very good job against Seattle and we took a step back on that last night.”

When asked what he saw on the critical late-fourth-quarter play on which rookie receiver Trent Taylor was called for pass interference, Shanahan said, “I saw a very good route.“

 

Controversial pass-interference call derails 49ers comeback

Controversial pass-interference call derails 49ers comeback

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers had momentum and field position on their side when Trent Taylor made a sprawling catch at the Los Angeles Rams' 39-yard line.

The 49ers, down by two points, were nearing field-goal range on the first play after the two-minute warning. But the momentum was quickly halted.

Taylor was called for offensive pass interference as he broke to the outside against the coverage of Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. TV replays were inconclusive whether Taylor extended his right arm to push off.

“I ran the route the way it was called, the way that I always run it,” Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area afer the game. “Felt good about it, and it was a great play call. But the ref’s decision on that, that’s nothing I can comment on. So I’ll just leave it as it is.”

The penalty set back the 49ers 10 yards. Brian Hoyer’s third-and-20 pass was incomplete, and he was sacked on fourth down to end any hope of a 49ers comeback victory.

“In that time of the game I would think you would let people play,” said Hoyer, prefacing his remarks with his intention to not say anything would warrant a fine.

“But I haven’t seen it. I have to go and watch the film. You know what, you don’t want to leave it up to the refs anyways. You hope you make a few plays earlier in the game to change the outcome. If it comes down to that, then that’s what it is. That’s what the guys job is to do.”

Taylor caught three passes for 32 yards, including his first NFL touchdown. He was also involved in another key play just moments earlier as the 49ers sought to tie the game. Hoyer’s two-point conversion pass attempt was tipped by Los Angeles cornerback Troy Hill and intercepted by defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Taylor was the third option on the play. Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin were both well-covered on their inside-breaking routes. Taylor initially had separation against Hill, but that was a problem for the 49ers. The route called for Taylor to cut it back inside. Hoyer and Taylor teamed up for a touchdown on the exact same route on the other side earlier in the game against Hill.

“They got lucky and guessed the play,” Taylor said. “They were on it, so there was nothing we could do about it.”