In one of the more interesting stories of 2011, Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton left in a flash.
Hired by former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator, Horton was in the process of packing his belongings and heading to Phoenix.
Maurice Matthews, an assistant chef at the Steelers' facility, happened to be talking to Horton in the cafeteria. Horton asked him how much money he had on him. Matthews pulled out a $20 bill.
Horton informed him he would accept that as payment for his red 1999 Mercedes Benz SL.
"Stop playing," Matthews said of his response to Horton, via ESPN's Scott Brown. "I’m not going to believe you until I see the paperwork."
The paperwork came through, and Matthews still has the car to this day (Brown noted he's put it away for winter storage).
Horton was always a well-liked coach, and he's had nothing but success in the time he's had both under Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh as well as in Arizona. Now, with the Browns ranking fifth in yards allowed in his just first season, it's clear the LeBeau clone is advancing the Steelers' brand throughout the league.
Cleveland has the best all-around secondary in the AFC North, as evidenced by the high level of play from cornerback Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward. They're physical, aggressive, multi-faceted and explosive.
Sounds familiar. Horton coached 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu in his final season with the Steelers. It took the Steelers' defense 25 games after the 2010 regular season to reach the amount of takeaways (35) they had that year.
Horton's star has been on the rise for some time, and while it would have been better if he accepted a defensive coordinator position in any one of the seven other divisions in the NFL, at the rate he's going, he'll be a head coach soon.
Hopefully, well out of the AFC North.
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