Horton’s goodbye gift

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2011 – 11:14 am

Ray Horton would hear it from Maurice Matthews all the time when he was coaching in Pittsburgh: “When are you going to let me use your car?”

Horton’s car – a red 1999 Mercedes Benz SL500 convertible roadster – was a prize. Horton was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive backs coach, and Matthews was a cook at the Steelers’ cafeteria. But Matthews was “one of the guys” too, Horton said, always chiding Horton about how he was coaching his position.

Matthews would also drive himself to road games of the Steelers, and made the drive to Canton last summer when the entire Steelers team showed up for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s Hall of Fame induction.

When it came to the car, however, Horton would hear Matthews’ request and shoot back “You can’t afford the gas in it.”

But Horton also came up with a plan. And when Horton took the job as defensive coordinator with the Cardinals, he came up with a big surprise for Matthews.

Under the guise of having lost his wallet, Horton – knowing Matthews would help him no matter what – asked Matthews how much money he had on him. Immediately, Matthews forked over the $20 he had. Horton flipped him the keys to the convertible. “Sold!” Horton announced, and Matthews was dumbfounded.

“I’m like, ‘Stop playing with me Ray; don’t play with me,'” Matthews told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The other [workers] were looking at me, their jaws dropped. Ray said, “Hey, you always liked the car, you’re a good dude, I know you’ll take care of it. It’s yours.’ ”

Horton said Matthews couldn’t believe it, “but he believes it now.”

Matthews drove Horton to the airport the next day, when Horton gave Matthews all the proper paperwork to take ownership himself.

“I just told (Steelers coach) Mike (Tomlin), ‘It’s just taking care of guys who took care of you,’ ” Horton said.

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Posted in Blog | 52 Comments »

52 Responses to “Horton’s goodbye gift”

  1. By Landongn on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    That’s an awesome story. Sounds like the guy’s got some serious class.

  2. By David R on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    That is awesome!

  3. By kauaicardsfan on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


  4. By MikeV on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Impressive. I liked the guy and his attitude already. This? what a class act. Never forget the little guys.

  5. By apete on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


  6. By Jason on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Great story! I like Horton already. This cook sounded like an awesome friend. For a cook to reach down no questions asked and help out with a $20 spot tells you what a great guy this is. He deserves the Benz. Way to go Ray!

  7. By brad oneill on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Great Story Darren! I have seen a few similar instances in my life one of my favorites happened at a 5 star resort located in Phoenix. There was an eastern block immigrant that got a job as the gate guard. He took it upon himself to be the guard and greeter and welcomed every car, guest or employee with great enthusiasm. We had a long term guest who had a relative in a local hospital. When the guest and their relative were finally ready to return home after months of treatment, they stopped at the gate and gave my friend a very nice rolex watch. the guest simply said to him thank you for cheering me up everyday.

    I am glad we have a guy like horton on our side.

  8. By phoenixraven1 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    cool story…

  9. By dylan on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    This makes me really look forward to the culture Ray can bring to the Cards. I ama Suns fan too, and my favorite thing about them is not only their talent but their class.

  10. By Ditship on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    That’s really cool. I imagine a guy like this will be loved by the players. Thanks for sharing.

  11. By kirk on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, now how cool is that? Nice gesture of kindness Ray! The world
    needs more people like that.

  12. By NYCARDSFAN on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, that was cool! Nice move Mr. Horton!

  13. By tom on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    wow great story. sounds like a great guy!

  14. By WNY card fan on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    That’s awesome, great story. Sounds like a great guy to have on your coaching staff.

  15. By Stevie on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    I liked Ray Horton from the time I heard he might become the Cards’ DC, but now I am even more impressed with the man. I can hardly wait to see what he has done with the new defensive schemes. Now, lets just sign the CBA so we can play football!

  16. By Kolb_Fan on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Thats Cool

  17. By AZCoyotes on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Agree with you 100% MikeV. Class Act!! Glad he’s a Cardinal.

  18. By jocards on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    That Matthews must be SOME cook! Great story!

  19. By AndyStandsUp on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Horton’s promised a blitz on the very first play of the regular season. (Though, wouldn’t it be cool if he did it next Thursday, also?)
    With the current roster Darren and knowing Carolina will be looking for it, who’s the blitzer IYO?
    My guess would be Wilson.

  20. By Darren Urban on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: First blitz

    He never said regular season. He said “our first play.” So it could be the Oakland game.

  21. By Cards4Life on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


  22. By @StevieValdeezee on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Coach Horton,
    We’re blessed to have you on our team!

  23. By BIG RED on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    We have our own Gran Torino man. Great story, We should call you Clint Horton.

  24. By In fitz we trust on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    wat a class act. hats of to ray

  25. By cards62 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    I will be honest with you guys I have no idea what kind of DC Horton is going to be, and I am nervous about his abilities, but this is a great story and tells you that Horton is a guy you would like to have as a friend. We do not have the most talent on defense so we will see if Horton can coach them up or not. I know all of us were rooting for him before this story, but even more now that we know he is a nice guy.

    Carlos Rogers CB Redskins signed with the 49ers. He would have been a nice pickup for us after DRC. 49ers did lose Manny Lawson to the Bengals of all people for $ 3 million a year. Can anyone figure this one out for me? I think Manny could help us out.

    Go Cards

  26. By Jodi on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Excellent he was blessed. So he played it forward.

  27. By Tbru on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Cool story, glad to read it, I have been getting too cynical about pro sports lately. But it is red, it would look in front of the Cards complex, should have bought Mr Matthews a black one, and kept the red one. lol

    I didn’t know a lot about the man, but now, I am a huge ray Horton fan.

  28. By Eazy E on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Wow that is cool Ray! He’ll be awesome for us.

  29. By clssylssy on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Nice to have a guy with such class and generosity setting an example for our players and other members of the organization. I have many Steeler fans as friends and know they are feeling the loss of having a guy like Horton as a leader within their organization. In an industry that has come to represent greed and moral bankrupcy, it is refreshing to know there are the Ray Horton’s still around and part of the Arizona Cardinals Organization. Welcome to the Cards Ray…WE DO THIS TOGETHER!

  30. By Allison Robinson on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Bless you Mr Horton!!!! You’re a good man.

  31. By Lynn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Talk about a story that touches your heart. Way to go, Ray Horton! You’re my new hero!

  32. By Chile Bravo on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply


    Great act of kindness needs to be given greater exposure…you’re a wonderful man Mr. Horton

  33. By lamonte on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    that is a real man thing mr.horton did. he cares about people,not their money.too show love for another human being,right !on ! brother! now lets see if our congress can show the same kind of love for america”

  34. By Olayiwola Abiola Faith on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Whaoh! That’s a dream come true. To d coach, thanks for being that kind. Shallom.

  35. By Judy on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    This is such an inspiring story. Makes us all want to be better people. Kindness goes along way and can change our prospective.

  36. By Elliot on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply


  37. By Dewey Cooke on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Very Classy Move Ray: I always thought you were a quality guy dating back to your college days: Glad to see my opinion reinforced by actions

  38. By Mike on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Welcome to Arizona – You will definitely fit in with the culture of the valley. The curtsey and gracious nature of the people here in the greater Phoenix area exceeds any I have seen in the whole USA. I myself moved here from the San Francisco area in 2006 and have enjoyed everyday here with such nice people. I don’t feel I can find anyplace better than here. I hope you find the same aura here that I did…

  39. By Toni Colland on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Great man you are Ray! Especially since Maurice Matthews is family and I got to drive the Mercedes, too! Thanks for making Maurice a happier man then he already is. Good luck in your new position.

  40. By Brad Burrough on Aug 5, 2011 | Reply

    This is Gentleman that the steelers or Pittsburgh should not of lost….Abig plus for Arizonia

  41. By Michelle on Aug 5, 2011 | Reply

    Ray is a class act. This is a heart warming, refreshing story. Thankfully, the guy who replaced Ray is also a very classy guy in Carnell Lake.

  42. By cardinalsticket9 on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    this is really cool.

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