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Ray Horton hired as Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator

Just hours after Ray Horton was released from his contract with the Arizona Cardinals, he was hired by the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator.

Horton’s contract is for four years and $8 million, according to Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin.

It was expected the coach would find work quickly and initial speculation led to Cleveland.

While Bruce Arians was finishing up his introductory press conference as the Cardinals’ next head coach, Horton to Cleveland was confirmed first by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and then the team.

Horton told de St. Aubin he received a phone call Friday from the Browns to discuss the job with him. He had interviewed with the Browns for their head coaching position earlier in the month and felt it was a good interview.

Horton believes the Browns’ defense has a ton of upside and is an extraordinary young team.

Cleveland is assembling a new staff, led by first-time head coach Rob Chudzinski. The Browns have also landed Michael Lombardi as the vice president of player personnel.

Horton is flying to Cleveland Friday night to meet with team officials.

Horton interviewed for the Cardinals’ head coaching job, and has been the architect of their defense over the last two seasons. In 2012, Arizona ranked 12th in the league in total defense.

In Arizona he was the defensive coordinator for Ken Whisenhunt, who took a job as the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator on Thursday.

Horton said he got a phone call from Whisenhunt Thursday night, and his former boss thanked him for his time in Arizona and said maybe they would work together again in the future.