Wyatt Teller's offseason so far can be summed up with one image that went viral in early March.
Just a couple months removed from putting together one of the best seasons of any offensive lineman in 2020, Teller, the five-year veteran for the Browns, was pictured carrying a dead, 10-foot alligator over his shoulders. Teller was in Florida with his friend and Miami Dolphins defensive end Zach Sieler when they were hunting and took the photo, and the picture has continued to reverberate through social channels whenever Teller's been mentioned.
"It's a big ol' reptile," Teller said in an interview Monday with Cleveland Browns Daily, "so it's not too heavy. It was probably around 200 pounds."
Sure, the picture was jarring and provided a perfect example of Teller's raw strength, but anyone who watched him play football last year shouldn't have been too surprised to see him hauling the reptile.
Teller emerged as one of the top right guards and best offensive linemen in the NFL last season by making weekly, highlight-reel plays of steamrolling through defenders and clearing rushing lanes. At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Teller constantly flashed the technique and body improvements he worked on through last year's pandemic-riddled offseason, which ended with Teller receiving first-team reps at the start of training camp when right guard was expected to be one of the top competitions on the roster.
But Teller proved early he could tackle starting duties in elite fashion. He finished the year with a 92.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked best among all right guards, and played a massive role in giving Cleveland arguably the best offensive line in football.
Teller gave credit to second-year Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan and assistant coach Scott Peters, who worked closely with Teller to improve his technique and ultimately take his game to a top-tier level. Both coaches are back in 2021, and that's one reason why Teller believes he can replicate his success for his third year in Cleveland.
"It's crazy going into Year 4 in the NFL and this is the first time having the same offensive line coach for two years in a row," he said. "I'm doing my work and I'm trying to get better."
The Browns' initial 53 man roster on August 31, 2021
The coaches, of course, aren't the only people from the offense returning in 2021. All five offensive line starters are back, as well as QB Baker Mayfield, RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and TEs Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku, who all played vital roles in the blocking game last season.
Those players will practice daily against a new-look defense, which will feature three new starters on the defensive line and an influx of talented veterans at linebacker and in the secondary. That means the offensive line will face strong competition in practice nearly every day.
"We have 11 guys on offense returning, which is insane — I've never heard of that," he said. "We've got the guys in the backfield who can do it at a high level … and if the best D-Line I play is our own team, I'll be very, very happy."
In one month, Teller and the rest of the Browns will be back in Berea for training camp, which will provide the first true signs of how much the offensive continuity could push the unit to an even higher level this season. After his best season in the NFL, Teller isn't taking anything for granted and stressed the urgency to continue to improve in Year 2 with the playbook from head coach Kevin Stefanski.
The trust on the offense is evident, and Teller is planning on doing his part to ensure it pays off.
"I've been blessed to be put in a situation where we have great guys around me and I just have to do my job," he said. "I don't have to do anything else but my job, and that's a blessing."