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.