SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Dwight Clark, who helped launch a dynasty for San Francisco with his iconic catch that sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl, has died one year after revealing he had ALS. He was 61.

Clark said in March 2017 that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which attacks cells that control muscles. He suspected playing football might have caused the illness.

The team said he died Monday surrounded by friends and family.

“My heart is broken,” former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. said in a statement. “Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease. I will always remember Dwight the way he was – larger than life, handsome, charismatic and the only one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family I love him and will miss him terribly.”

Clark won two Super Bowls with the 49ers during a nine-year career that ended in 1987. He memorably pulled down the winning touchdown pass from Joe Montana in the NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys, a play remembered simply as “The Catch.” It’s considered one of the most significant plays in NFL history and sent the Niners to their first of five Super Bowl titles in a span of 14 seasons.

The play happened on Jan. 10, 1982, when the upstart 49ers hosted the Cowboys in the NFC title game. With the 49ers facing a third down at the Dallas 6 with less than a minute to play, Coach Bill Walsh called “Sprint Right Option.”

Montana rolled out and retreated under pressure from Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Larry Bethea before lofting the ball toward the back of the end zone. Clark leaped to make a fingertip catch over Everson Walls and the 49ers went on to win the game 28-27 and then their first Super Bowl two weeks later against Cincinnati.

“Start of a dynasty,” said former 49ers president Carmen Policy, who later hired Clark as general manager of the Cleveland Browns. “I don’t let myself go down the road of what would have happened if he doesn’t make that catch? As Joe Montana says, ‘what would have happened if I didn’t throw that pinpoint pass perfectly angled to be in the only spot where he should catch and no one else would be able to interfere with it.’ But without that play, I wonder where we would have been.”

HONOR: Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will receive ESPN’s Jimmy V Award for the toughness and perseverance he’s displayed during his ongoing battle with oral cancer.

ESPN officially announced the honor Monday, a few hours after Kelly first revealed the news while attending his charitable foundation’s 32nd golf tournament outside of Buffalo. Kelly will be honored during the network’s ESPY Awards on July 18.

The award is named for late North Carolina State men’s basketball coach Jimmy Valvano, who gave an inspirational speech at the ESPYs in 1993 less than two months before he died of cancer. Valvano most notably led the Wolfpack on an improbable run to win the 1983 NCAA Tournament championship.

Kelly had surgery to have cancer removed from his jaw in March after tests revealed a recurrence. The 58-year-old Kelly was initially diagnosed five years ago with skin cancer and had been cancer free since September 2014.

GIANTS: Two-time Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins is taking part in practice at organized team activities without the red jersey that tells other New York players to keep their hands off him.

It doesn’t mean Collins has fully recovered from a late-season broken right arm that required two surgeries to fix. It does mean the leader of the defense is close, and could take part in next week’s mandatory three-day minicamp.

Don’t expect it, though. Coming off a 3-13 season, the Giants are not going to run the risk even with a new 3-4 defense being installed by coordinator James Bettcher for Coach Pat Shurmur.

“I check with the doctors sometime this week, or next week,” Collins said Monday after practice. “I’m very close. Just right now, we’re just taking the precautions, not putting me into the team things, getting my arm caught or anything. We’re right around the corner from the season, so we’re not about to risk anything.”

LIONS: Detroit signed free-agent tight end Wes Saxton.

The Lions also waived defensive back Raysean Pringle.