Ray Horton doesn't believe his skin color played any role in him not being hired as an NFL head coach.
It just wasn't his time.
Introduced as Cleveland's new defensive coordinator Tuesday, Horton said that whereas he's "disappointed" he didn't get a head coaching job after interviewing with several teams, he's grateful to have gone through the process and feels the league's Rooney Rule to promote minorities works despite contrary statistics.
Minority candidates were shut out of 15 coaching and top front-office jobs this offseason, a disparity that led to criticism of the NFL's hiring practices. There are only four minority head coaches going into the 2013 season, the fewest since 2003, when the Rooney Rule was implemented.
Horton, however, feels he wasn't bypassed because he's African-American or because he wears his hair in tight braids. There's no doubt he has the credentials.
"I believe every NFL team owner is trying to get the best coach for their team," he said. "I don't think anybody goes into it thinking, I'm going to hire this guy because of 'X' reason other than he's going to lead the team to victories. So from that standpoint, I respect the process."
Horton, 52, was one of the candidates who met with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner before they hired Rob Chudzinski, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina's offensive coordinator. Horton noted that hiring offensive-minded coaches seemed to be this year's trend.
Horton, who played in 147 career games as a defensive back for Cincinnati and Dallas, remains hopeful he'll one day get his shot at being a head coach.
"I wasn't disappointed at all for minorities," he said. "I was disappointed for Ray Horton."
Rams: The team decided not to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator and hired Frank Bush as linebackers coach. Bush replaces Blake Williams, son of Gregg Williams, who was briefly defensive coordinator with the Rams last winter before being suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints bounty scandal.
Bills: The team and Rogers Media announced an agreement that will keep Rogers Centre in Toronto as the team's second home. Buffalo will play one regular-season game at the home of the Blue Jays for the next five years.