Members of Ray Lewis' family were the only ones left in the locker room, with the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII triumph more than an hour old. As the iconic linebacker re-entered, finally done with all his media obligations, he was met by John Harbaugh.
"Remember what we talked about the last five years?" Harbaugh asked, embracing his captain.
Lewis nodded. They'd talked, over their time together, about what the looks on each other's faces would be like in this moment they had been chasing. And then, they knew.
Just like that, it's gone now, as is an era of Baltimore Ravens football. Overdramatic? Maybe. But the transition this franchise will experience this offseason, with Lewis retiring and others likely gone, promises to be seismic in comparison to the changes the roster has undergone in the past.
The loss of Lewis isn't the only reason why. Harbaugh surely engaged in other embraces Sunday night that were congratulations doubling as goodbyes.
A reality of the 2013 offseason is that the flat salary cap -- for a second consecutive year, changes to spending limits will be minimal, and projections say there won't be a jump in 2014, either -- is fixing to drop the hammer on a large number of clubs. The New York Giants, this week, were the first example of a team feeling the pinch. And the Super Bowl champions won't be exempt.