"But a good weird," he quickly added.

Maybe it is because he's the former coach who is used to taking charge in such moments, Ditka walked over and grabbed Lewis' wrist and held up the hand with the supersized Ravens Super Bowl ring on it.

Then, Ditka, held his finger with a much smaller Chicago Bears Super Bowl ring alongside it. It was a perfect snapshot of the difference in the rewards players and coaches received in the two different eras of Ditka and Lewis.

Or, maybe, it was just a knock on cheap Bears ownership. But whatever it was, it broke the tension on the set, and everybody relaxed.

Jackson, a former linebacker and the most veteran of the player-analysts on the set, was most gracious. After the remarks Lewis made about checkers and chess, he tried to make sure everyone got what Lewis was saying as he reminded viewers that "no one ever scored 49 points" against the Ravens when Lewis was at linebacker.

Berman, too, was reaching out to Lewis constantly during the three hours, prefacing questions with statements like, "Ray, you know this better than I do, so let me ask you about...."

Some of Lewis' best moments Sunday came in a discussion with Carter and Johnson about former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and the issues of character, criminality and the NFL.

Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun Ravens beat writer, talks about that discussion here.

In the end, maybe the highest compliment I can pay Lewis is that he really did seem to make everyone around him on the ESPN set better -- just as he did on the field with the Ravens.

Again, it was definitely a two-way street with the producers and teammates constantly reaching out to him.

But what I saw today was someone successfully navigate a major rite of passage from one profession to another.

And I now have a new place to be on Sunday mornings for my first NFL gameday TV fix.