CLEVELAND — Gregg Williams revived his coaching career after shame and suspension.
His next challenge: repairing the Browns' leaky defense.
Williams was hired Sunday as Cleveland's defensive coordinator, replacing Ray Horton, fired by coach Hue Jackson less than a week after the team concluded its 1-15 season.
Williams, 58, was banned by the league for one season in 2012 for his involvement in the Saints' notorious Bountygate scandal. He spent the past three seasons with the Rams.
It's the second time Horton has been dismissed by the Browns after one season, and while he appears to be the one taking the fall for the team's failure, Jackson said that's not the case.
Jackson said he "agonized" over the decision and understands that Horton looks like a convenient scapegoat.
"This isn't just Ray," Jackson said. "If anybody, the finger is pointed back at me, it's not pointed at Ray."
Jackson expects other changes on the defensive side as Williams brings in some assistants.
As for Cleveland's offense, Jackson said he's "comfortable" that associate head coach Pep Hamilton will stay with the team. Hamilton is considering a position on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Michigan. Hamilton previously worked with Harbaugh at Stanford.
Williams, who was head coach of the Bills from 2001 to 2003, takes over a young defense that didn't make enough big plays in 2016 and finished at the bottom or close to it in every meaningful category.
Williams was New Orleans' defensive coordinator when the league suspended him in 2012 for his role in the scandal, which centered around players being paid bonuses by members of the franchise for injuring opposing players.
NINERS: The team interviewed Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III for its vacant general manager job. Ray met with CEO Jed York, who is trying to find the replacements for fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after a 2-14 season that tied the worst mark in franchise history. Raye, 48, is the son of former San Francisco offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye II, who held the job in 2009-10. The elder Raye also was with the Bucs (offensive coordinator, 1985-86; senior offensive assistant, 2012-13).