So the ring, a ring of power, lay under the water until it was found after many years.

And for years it lay quietly in a small hamlet. But the ring had a mind of its own and it wanted to return to its master.

And now it has.

More than four decades after the 1968 New York Jets miraculously won Super Bowl III, the center on that team, John Schmitt, is celebrating another miracle.

The championship ring Schmitt thought he lost off the Hawaiian coast in 1971 turned up in a lifeguard’s estate that was passed on to his great-niece, CBS News affiliate KGMB-TV in Honolulu reported Thursday.

(Scroll down to watch a report from KGMB-TV)

“I couldn’t believe it,” Schmitt told KGMB-TV. “I mean I honestly couldn’t believe it. I mean 40 years.”

Schmitt lost the ring during his first surfing lesson in February 1971, a quarter-mile off the beach behind the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. He didn’t realize the ring slipped off his finger until he returned to the shore.

“I got a snorkel and some flippers and I went out and I dove until I was blue,” Schmitt told KGMB-TV. “I’m not kidding you. It must have been three hours I was out there looking. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was just exhausted. I virtually could not swim or flip my legs anymore and I just went in broken hearted.”

But, somehow, lifeguard John Ernstberg found the ring. His great-niece Cindy Saffery told the affiliate that Ernstberg came home one day, gave the ring to his wife, Mary, and they put it in a box.

John Ernstberg died in 1991, and Mary Ernstberg died in 1995. Saffery inherited their estate, which included the ring, and recently took it to an expert to determine whether it was authentic. When she and her husband, Samuel Saffery, found out that it belonged to No. 52, they called the Jets.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of East Rutherford where the Shadows lie.