NFL great Dwight Clark remembered for touching lives in the Carolinas

NFL great Dwight Clark remembered for touching lives in the Carolinas
Former WR Dwight Clark, center, speaks next to former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., left, during halftime of an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Every highly celebrated athletic career has its beginnings rooted in the most basic surroundings and in the case of NFL great Dwight Clark, east Charlotte's Garinger High School offered an amazing field of dreams.

Jack Brayboy was on the same team and a year behind Clark. He says he will never forget his committed work ethic.

"He was 6'4" and there were not a lot of guys 6'4" walking around Garinger. He'd stay after practice and throw balls. He worked just as hard if not harder than anyone on the football team," Brayboy recalls.

At Garinger, Clark was the quarterback. Years later at Clemson, he made the transition to wide receiver. As a freshman there Sirius XM radio host Mark Packer first met Clark at an off-campus restaurant.

"He had time to come down and say hello to us. He's always been that kind of guy. Yeah, he was a great player, but he was such a good guy," Packer told WBTV.

Cherished memorabilia and the single moment that defined Clark's life is framed on the wall at Garinger High School. It was called the catch from the 1982 NFC Championship Game- his show stopping touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys  that put his San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Tony Huggins is the athletic director who keeps Clark's name alive in the hallways of his high school home.

"That's one of the reasons we have his jersey up in the hallways is because we want the kids to see it," Huggins said.

His career was celebrated both on and off the field.

"There are scores of people that he touched right here in Charlotte and he never ever forgot where he came from," Brayboy said.

Demonstrating how achieving greatness at Garinger sowed the early seeds for a successful life.

Clark died Monday from complications connected to ALS. He was 61 years old.

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