Horton returns to Browns to run defense
CLEVELAND (AP) Ray Horton’s coming back to the Browns. They haven’t changed much since he left.
Horton has been hired as new Cleveland coach Hue Jackson’s defensive coordinator, a person familiar with the hiring told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Horton is returning to Cleveland, where he ran coach Rob Chudzinski’s defense in 2013, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns have not yet announced Horton’s addition.
The 55-year-old Horton interviewed to be Tennessee’s coach last week, but when the Titans hired Mike Mularkey, Jackson acted quickly to add him to his staff with the Browns. There were mixed reports following his interview that Horton had felt insulted by the Titans.
In any event, he’s again with the Browns, who have gone 10-22 in the two seasons while Horton was in Tennessee – and undergone another coaching change.
Also, Jackson is bringing in longtime NFL assistant Al Saunders, former Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson and Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to help his offense, said the person.
Under Horton, who played 10 seasons in the NFL for Dallas and Cincinnati, the Browns finished ninth in yards allowed – a jump of 14 places from the previous season – and were 23rd in points allowed per game. Horton’s defense in Tennessee was ranked 12th overall this past season.
A former head coach in San Diego, Saunders was Jackson’s offensive coordinator in 2011 with Oakland. The Raiders went 8-8 in their one season together.
Wilson coached Adrian Peterson and Minnesota’s running backs the past two seasons. His contract with the Vikings expired Tuesday and Jackson wasted no time in bringing Wilson in for an interview that led to a job offer as Cleveland’s running game coordinator.
Jackson is expected to call his own plays in Cleveland, eliminating the need for a coordinator.
However, he will lean on Saunders, Wilson and Hamilton, whose title will be associate head coach/offense. The 41-year-old Hamilton was fired during this past season as Indianapolis’ offensive coordinator.
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