CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton may not be a native of Cleveland, but he still enjoys seeing the city burst with pride for a sports team.
Although the Browns are 0-7 after Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Horton expressed his support of the Cleveland Indians, who are in the World Series for the first time since 1997.
“I know we will be pulling for them,” said Horton, who was born in Tacoma, Washington, more than 2,400 miles away from Cleveland. “It is nice to watch the city react to the sports teams here doing a great job, and that is where we want to get, and so, we are working as hard as we can to be just like the Cavs and the Indians and make everybody proud. I know we will have an ear to the TV and watch those guys.”
Now in his second go-around as the Browns’ defensive coordinator, Horton has always spoken highly of the city of Cleveland.
When given the chance to return to Cleveland and reclaim the defensive coordinator job in January, he welcomed it with open arms.
“I am really excited to be back,” Horton said in a release announcing the hire. “I love the fans of Cleveland. When I was here last time, they really embraced me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met Cleveland fans in different cities. It is a great fan base.”
Horton echoed those same sentiments leading up to last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans, whom he helped coach over the last two seasons.
“Where I am at right now is where I want to be,” Horton said. “I am very happy here. I have made that point very clear that I love the city and I love what Hue (Jackson) is doing and the direction that we are heading. I am very happy with where I am at.”
Seeing the way the fans get behind its teams is one of the things that excites Horton most about being with the Browns, long considered the Cleveland sports organization the most ardent, passionate fans. And it is that support that drives Horton to work tirelessly year-round to give the fans a winning product.
“I don’t sleep well,” Horton said. “The thing that I am encouraged about is that every day that I come in -- not every day -- most days that I come in, my drive in, I think that we are one day closer to the playoffs. That is what absolutely fuels me here is that we are one day closer to the playoffs.
“Hue has been an unbelievable head coach as far as structure, excitement, energy and passion. It trickles down, and it is going to be an unbelievable event when we do. That is really every other day, we are one day closer because we are.”