Lewis and two others were charged in their killings.
Four months later, Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice. A jury acquitted Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley. "It was self-defense for me because someone attacked me," Oakley told CNN.
Today, Lewis insists whatever happened in Atlanta changed him.
"With everything I've been through in my whole life, the thing for me to be here today and my only purpose in life is to find ways to help people and encourage people and make our world a better place," he said.
Bryant compares Lewis to the biblical figure King David.
"David was a man after God's own heart, after committing adultery, after committing murder, after being negligent on the job, after being taken out of position," Bryant said. "He's still somebody who God honored, and I think that many times history can't appreciate it while you're in it, it's only after you walk away."
That is the definition of redemption, Bryant said. It's not what you've done, it's what you've become.
3. From starter to mentor
Alex Smith can't help but be a little disappointed even though the 49ers are in the game of their lives. Just a few months ago, Smith was San Francisco's starting quarterback before a concussion sent him to the sideline.
Kaepernick, the second-year backup, played even better than Smith, stayed in the lineup and had a big role in getting the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He said Smith has been supportive since losing his spot.
"It means a lot," Kaepernick said this week. "I think it really shows his character and the kind of man he is. He's helped me through everything, from Week 1 'til now."
Smith, who is healthy again, said he said he became a starter in college at Utah when their No. 1 quarterback went down.
"I'd be pretty hypocritical to be upset about it," Smith said. "It's the nature of sports. He got an opportunity, stepped up and made the most of it."
NBC Sports reported this week that Smith will ask to be released in the offseason, giving him greater control of which team he will play for next. The 49ers also could trade him, or keep him, but not many teams would want to pay their backup quarterback $8.5 million.
It's unlikely Harbaugh will pull Kaepernick if he struggles, but if he is injured the 49ers have little to worry about in his replacement.
4. Distractions, distractions, distractions
This Super Bowl has had more distractions than most. First there was Lewis being asked whether he had taken a banned substance called deer antler spray. Then 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said Tuesday he didn't want any gay players on his team. Add to that the story of TV analyst Dan Marino fathering a child out of wedlock and San Francisco's Randy Moss boasting he was the best receiver of all time (to which Jerry Rice replied, "Scoreboard.")
Players were sure the media circus wouldn't affect Super Bowl XLVII.
"You get to play at this level because most of the guys are mentally tough, so when you get out there, the last thing you're going to be thinking about is what people are saying," 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin said.
Ravens center Matt Birk said the being a professional football player requires staying focused at the task at hand, something some guys can't handle. He said he compartmentalizes the bad stuff, blocks it out.
Patrick Willis, a 49ers linebacker, defended Culliver.
"In this business, it's always going to be something, and we know those guys," he said. "We know those guys' hearts. We know that those things that come out of their mouths aren't intended to hurt anyone or intended to make it about them."
Culliver apologized Wednesday and again Thursday, saying: "I'm sorry that I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments, and that's not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully, I can learn and grow from this experience and this situation. I love San Francisco."
5. New Orleans on the comeback
The Big Easy is playing host to its 10th Super Bowl and even though locals are crushed that the hometown Saints aren't playing in the game, they are happy to show a city that has rebounded strongly from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.