Death of a writer touches Ray Horton

Jack Ryan had a fan in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton took a moment from his football duties to say how saddened he was at the death of author Tom Clancy, who made uber-special government and international analyst Jack Ryan into a bit of a cult hero, starting with the "The Hunt for Red October" -- the story of a Russian submarine captain who guided a super-secret nuclear sub to U.S. waters so he could defect.

Ryan saved many a day -- including the Queen of England in "Patriot Games" -- and evidently Clancy saved Horton from many a boring night.

"It was a sad day for me last week because Tom Clancy passed away," Horton said of Clancy, who died Oct. 1 after writing more than two dozen books, 17 of which wound up on the New York Times bestseller list. "The mind games that he played with you as a reader to get you some place, I just wanted to pass on my condolences."

It was a rare admission by an NFL coach. Many often are consumed with team and filmwork. Horton evidently is a reader.

One who like to cheat at that.

"I loved," Horton said, "how he would be weaving tales to try to get you to the end.

"I always read the last page of the book first."