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Browns still paying Horton, interview him for DC job

The Browns interviewed Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton for the same position on Tuesday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. This might have been awkward for a few reasons.

For one, Horton was the Browns' defensive coordinator for one season under Rob Chudzinski in 2013 before the whole staff was let go. Oh, and also, the Browns are still paying him anyway.

New Browns head coach Hue Jackson is setting off to change the culture in Cleveland -- something he's already done by agreeing to terms with the team in the first place. But watching Cleveland interview a coach who is still on the payroll, a remnant of a quickly-discarded staff from a few years ago, seems so uniquely Cleveland.

Horton had a surprisingly good defense in Tennessee last year in terms of yards allowed, though the Titans did give up the sixth-most points in the NFL. His long-time association with Dick LeBeau has aided the development of Horton's own scheme, which has taken on a life of its own. LeBeau was the Titans' assistant head coach in charge of defense last season.

Horton was breezed over for the Titans' head coaching job last week and has been a perennially overlooked candidate ever since his days as a defensive coordinator in Arizona. Horton interviewed for the job that eventually went to Bruce Arians. He also interviewed for head coaching gigs in Buffalo and Cleveland in the past.

"I think I interview well, I'm knowledgeable, I can put together a great team," Horton told the Cardinals' website after his head coaching interview back in 2013. "I am very optimistic. If you're not, you're probably not an NFL coach."

Now, he has a chance to come back to Cleveland with a fresh slate. And a familiar return address on his paycheck.

With Jackson studying under Marvin Lewis for so long -- a coach who knows the AFC North better than anyone -- bringing in a former Steeler or two might not be the worst idea. And it might have come highly recommended.

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