Consider the past month one of the longest of Wyatt Teller's playing career.
The powerful right guard missed three games because of a calf injury and waited another week as the Browns went through their bye. Now, he's poised to make his return as Cleveland hosts the Houston Texans on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Teller after Saturday's walkthrough.
CB.com: It's been about a month since you got on the field. How do you expect it to feel Sunday?
Teller: I hope really well. I know that the speed of the game, all the technique and fundamentals I was working on so hard before the injury is really something I'm going to continue to work on. I know there's a lot of things I had to improve on when I was 110 percent. Now it's back to 110 percent working on those things.
CB.com: Was it extra frustrating to suffer that injury when you were playing so well?
Teller: That was a little bit frustrating but at the same time, it's part of the game. I was really hurt the week before when Nick (Chubb) got hurt. It was a quick run-around play and I was finishing my guy and the guy falls into his knee and then he's out a couple of weeks. Then next week it happens to me. It's just weird injuries, and it's the name of the game. It is a little bit frustrating but at the same time you can look at it two ways. You can look at it as, "This is going to ruin my career" or "This is just another step." This is a fork in the road I needed to get around. It's no big deal and I know that's how Nick looked at it. When we were in treatment, we were getting better and it's good to have a guy like that around because I've never been injured, so I didn't know how to handle it. It was a little bit different. I'm excited to get back and hopefully that never happens again.
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Houston Texans
CB.com: How excited are you about the prospect of you, Chubb and Austin Hooper returning for the running game?
Teller: Especially in a game coming off the bye, we need to come out strong, powerful and be able to attack whatever they give us. That's the biggest thing. You have three big guys coming back who all know the offense, were here all camp. It was hard on (Chris Hubbard). He had to learn all of that stuff in expedited fashion. He had to learn so fast because I was the guard we had. He helped at guard a little bit during camp but he really didn't settle in. He was a tackle and he's played tackle his entire career. It was an experience where I'm trying to help him, trying to teach him and show him some of the stuff. I think having us back will make us strong because we know what to do and how to do it. The biggest thing is staying healthy as long as we go.
CB.com: Has something for you clicked this year with using your power to the fullest extent?
Teller: I think so. I really think the finish aspect of it has come along. Obviously, you can't finish everybody in the league. These are the best in the world. It's just so different now with how when I was in high school, every tackle was mine. I had 154 tackles in 10 games. It was crazy. College, it was 20 knockdowns a game. Here it is getting to 10-15 knockdowns and I'm thinking "that's amazing!" Your perception and your reality changes. I really do think finishing and doing it consistently is definitely something special but I think it's the whole part of it. It's the whole process we went through this offseason with getting strong and studying as hard as I could. Coach (Bill) Callahan came in and is a technician. It's exactly what I needed to whip me up into shape and get the best out of me. I really feel like I've been playing at a high level but I know I have so much more to improve on and so much more to work on, which is amazing.
CB.com: What do you like most about this offensive line?
Teller: The guys are awesome. We have a good group. We all get along. We all have each other's back. In a way, we all complete each other. (Jedrick Wills Jr.) is young and Joel (Bitonio) is old. If Jed has a question, Joel can answer it because he's seen it. He has the experience. That's the same thing with Jack (Conklin) and me. We're a little closer in age but he has the experience. I made the joke the other day that I'm not the smartest guy on the field but I'm also not the dumbest. Jack is literally a walking encyclopedia. He knows everything that's going on. He can really take off the blinders. Sometimes I try to take off the blinders but that's something he can naturally do. I guess that's through the experience he's had, too. Having those guys and having JC (Tretter) next to me — he's one of the smartest guys I've ever played with — it's helpful to me. We're all on the same track and we know the technique and know the fundamentals. The biggest thing is just doing it right consistently.
CB.com: The team had some disruptions this week with COVID-19 protocols. How have you handled the unpredictable schedule and how has coach Kevin Stefanski helped things feel as normal as possible?
Teller: We knew this was going to be the game. We knew this was going to be the season. You have to roll with the punches, you have to embrace the suck and you have to face adversity in everything. While we live a great life, it is dangerous. We want to protect as many people as we can. It's important to do the important things with covering your mouth. If you're around people, get used to talking 6 feet away from each other. We do the little airplanes like little kids making sure we're distanced out to protect each other and protect the team. The name of the game is who's going to be able to face adversity best. The teams that are winning are the teams that are doing it.