At some point early Sunday morning Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will embrace and have a quick chat. Then they will go about trying to destroy the other’s team.

“Nobody is a friend on Sunday” Schwartz said.

Truth is though Schwartz and Lewis have been friends since 1996 when Lewis hired him in Baltimore.

“Jimmy obviously he means a lot to me; I owe him a lot” said Lewis. “He was a great coach with me and just tremendous. I’ve had the same administrative assistant here for going on 14 years and Jimmy hired her. Every(thing) around me I owe it to Jimmy.”

Such is the depth of their bond Lewis may be the only person on the planet allowed to call him Jimmy.

“When you work together like we did you spend a lot of time together” Lewis said. “When you come from the bottom like we did you really grind together. You really are that close.”

When Lewis was hired as defensive coordinator in Baltimore Schwartz was already on staff. General manager Ozzie Newsome encouraged Lewis to interview and retain Schwartz which he did.

“It was Marvin’s first job as defensive coordinator and I moved over from scouting into quality control” Schwartz said. “The quality control guy is sort of the right hand man to the coordinator so I got a chance to learn every bit of the defense.