Carly Teller knew mailing Christmas cards to hundreds of Browns fans could be a bit hectic this holiday season because she and husband Wyatt, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, are expecting their first child to be born next week.
Nevertheless, Carly felt compelled to establish a tradition.
“I’m really pregnant, but I just couldn’t help myself,” she said recently by phone. “It just made me feel good.
“It was just a fun way to engage with the fans in a positive way, and it was such a small thing for me to do, but everyone was just so appreciative.”
Although Wyatt joined the fun by autographing some of the cards, the starting right guard said Carly deserves all of the credit.
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“Everybody loves me for it,” he said, “but really it’s my wife going out of her way to do it.”
Last year, Carly wrote on Twitter she wanted to send Christmas cards to fans. She conceded she underestimated the volume of responses she would receive. Thousands of people sent direct messages with their addresses. She mailed about 1,000 cards featuring a photograph of her sitting next to Wyatt as he signed a four-year, $56.8 million contract extension in November 2021.
This year, Carly followed up with a card showcasing the couple’s baby announcement. Photographed this past summer during training camp, Carly and Wyatt held a miniature No. 77 Teller Browns jersey at FirstEnergy Stadium to inform everyone they’re expecting a boy.
Wyatt also used the stadium as the site of his marriage proposal to Carly in 2020, so the baby revelation on Cleveland’s lakefront had a full-circle feeling.
“That’s two pretty big life events to announce in the same place,” Carly said.
Because of her pregnancy, Carly said she scaled back the number of cards she sent this year. She received even more replies than last year after she tweeted she would mail another wave in 2022.
“Joe Thomas retweeted it,” Carly said, “and I wanted to be like, ‘Dang it, Joe,’ because it was so nice of him to acknowledge it but, I mean, he’s Joe Thomas [and has a large following]. So then I get like 3,000 more messages.
“My only regret is that I can’t get to everyone. It’s tough because I get a lot of messages — literally thousands. I can hardly scroll to the bottom of them.”
Carly still distributed about 500 cards this year, writing all of the addresses by hand. She and Wyatt even Googled instructions for mailing cards to two military bases overseas.
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In addition to requests from Browns fans, there have been others from the faithful at Virginia Tech, where Wyatt played college football before the Buffalo Bills drafted him in the fifth round in 2018. The next year, the Browns acquired him in a trade.
The Tellers have gotten a kick out of people sharing their reactions to the cards. Wyatt doesn’t use social media, so Carly shows him some of the feedback. A video of a boy expressing disbelief about receiving a card is among their favorites.
“I’m like, ‘See, this is why I do it — spreading Christmas cheer,’” Carly said.
Wyatt said finding a way to bring joy to Cleveland sports fans made sense to the Tellers because they “love the people around here” and the gesture fits his wife’s personality.
“Carly’s love language is gift giving,” Wyatt said. “She loves giving a gift. She loves seeing the surprise on someone’s face.”
With a record of 5-8 as they prepare to host the 9-4 Baltimore Ravens at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the Browns are in the midst of a rough and disappointing season.
Carly could sense many of her followers on social media needed a morale boost. She explained sending the cards has allowed her to feel more connected with fans.
“It was a good way to add some optimism to Browns Twitter,” Carly said.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @ByNateUlrich.