Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

January 19, 2013

NFL: Browns hire Ray Horton for defensive coordinator

BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns considered Ray Horton for their head coaching vacancy. They hired him to fill another one.

Horton, who spent the past two seasons as Arizona's defensive coordinator, was named to the same position with the Browns on Friday. The 52-year-old recently interviewed with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner before the team chose Rob Chudzinski as its sixth coach since 1999. Horton replaces Dick Jauron, who was not retained on Chudzinski's staff.

"We are truly excited that we were able to get someone of Ray's caliber as our defensive coordinator,'' Chudzinski said. "He possesses a great deal of experience as a player, position coach and coordinator in the NFL and has been part of some of the top defenses in the league throughout his career. He is an extremely talented coach and I know that he will work very well with the young nucleus of players we have on defense.''

Under Horton last season, Arizona's defense ranked second in the NFL in interceptions and third-down efficiency. Horton, who was considered for Arizona's head coaching job before the team hired Bruce Arians, has 19 years of experience as a pro assistant.

Before he went to Arizona, Horton spent seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 10 years as a defensive back in the league.

It's not yet known if Horton will switch Cleveland's base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme.

Horton's hiring is the second major one in two days for Chudzinski's staff. On Thursday, fired San Diego coach Norv Turner was named the team's new offensive coordinator. Chudzinski coached the Chargers tight ends for two seasons under Turner.

"As we've said before, an important factor in hiring Rob was our confidence in him being able to put together a top-quality staff,'' Banner said. "He has assembled an extremely impressive group of coaches, and that will be very beneficial as we develop our players.''

Before he went to Arizona, Horton spent seven seasons coaching the Steelers secondary. During his time with Pittsburgh, the Steelers ranked in the top 10 in total defense each season. Horton helped in the development of star safety Troy Polamalu, who selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls with Horton as his coach.

A second-round selection by Cincinnati in 1983, Horton appeared in 147 games - 99 starts - for the Bengals (1983-88) and Dallas Cowboys (1989-92). He had 19 career interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, forced five fumbles and scored five defensive touchdowns. He played in one Super Bowl with Cincinnati and one for Dallas.

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