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Ray Horton Reportedly Will Be Hired as Browns Defensive Coordinator

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27:  Owner of the Cleveland Browns Jimmy Haslam looks on prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2016

The Cleveland Browns have reportedly agreed to a deal with Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton to fill their vacant role created when Jim O'Neil was not retained by the team, per Albert Breer of NFL Network.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network previously reported the Browns were "closing in" on a deal with Horton.

On Tuesday, Mary Kay Cabot of reported the Browns were interviewing Horton.

Horton, 55, was Cleveland's defensive coordinator during the 2013 season. He's still owed money from his time in Cleveland, as Rapoport noted:

Horton's departure from Tennessee isn't a surprise. John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance claimed Horton was insulted by the Titans during his interview to take over as the team's head coach, per Jason Wolf of the Tennessean. The team reportedly expressed surprise at his desire to become a head coach.

Wooten also claimed Horton had been "overshadowed" by the presence of defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau, the team's assistant head coach/defense.

Horton refuted that report, however, according to Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk. 

The Titans ultimately named Mike Mularkey as the head coach last week, and with LeBeau in place, the team may not fight to keep Horton. That would certainly pave the way for him to join the Browns, which gives new head coach Jackson an experienced coach to guide the defense.

Horton has been in the NFL since 1994, starting as a defensive coach, and he's been a defensive coordinator for the past four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the Browns and the Titans.

For Jackson, an offensive-minded coach in his first head coaching gig, that experience will be invaluable. 

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