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Why did Ray Horton have to leave the Arizona Cardinals?

Most hoped that at least he would stick around as defensive coordinator to finish off his contract.

Thearon W. Henderson

With the hiring of new head coach Bruce Arians, there was one bit of fallout that Arizona Cardinals fans did not like, and that was the exit of defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who now took the same position with the Cleveland Browns. The puzzling thing for many fans was why he wouldn't or couldn't stay on the staff, especially since Horton and Arians worked on the same staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Arians addressed this in his introductory press conference and also when he was on the air with Arizona Sports 620.

So why did Ray Horton leave?

The simple answer from Arians was, "I didn't feel like at this point in time that is where I wanted to go."

That really doesn't answer anything.

He did offer further explanation. "It needed to be a football team that was directed by me, and anytime there's carryover, we don't want guys to be able to go somewhere else to voice their opinion," he said. "I didn't want to put Ray in that situation. That's not fair to him."

Arians lauded Horton several times and alluded to the fact that he is a dear friend.

That would have been awkward. The defense and probably some other players would naturally gravitate towards Horton because they know and are comfortable with him. Arians wants the team to be united and to have the players come to him as a leader if they have complaints.

This is perfectly understandable, especially when it is his first true job as a head coach.

When interviewing with Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620, he further elaborated. (Forgive the lack of quotes,the audio is not posted on their site yet, so I am going by what I recall listening to)

Arians said that while preparing for his head coaching job, he always had a group of his guys who would join him on his staff, a group of guys that either played for him or coached with him. While Horton did coach with him in Pittsburgh, he was not on that list of guys. Todd Bowles will be.

Arians also said that it wouldn't be fair to Horton because he would bring in a whole new defensive staff, guys with whom Horton would not have that chemistry with off the bat.

In the end, while it seems to have had a bit of acrimony at the end between Horton and the front office, it is a move that makes sense from the team perspective. Horton is not being asked to change and work with different coaches and assistants and this also all but eliminates the possibility of a schism in the locker room.

Now that a whole day has gone by, are you feeling any differently?

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