The New York Giants have seen a whole lot of weirdness this season, including the benching of Eli Manning leading to widespread outrage and eventually the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. But it’s a development on the other side of the ball where things are getting even stranger, and that’s about cornerback Eli Apple.
The Giants drafted Apple 10th overall out of Ohio State in 2016, and he had some success last year, starting the last 10 games, but 2017 has been a worse season, with off-field family drama, poor on-field play and even a fine from the team for tweeting on the sidelines. And some of Apple’s teammates appear unimpressed with him, particularly Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins.
Collins (seen at left above) went on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York Tuesday, and in an interview with substitute host Bob Wischusen, called Apple (seen at right above) a “cancer.” Here’s the clip, with Collins’ comments on Apple coming around 3:12; Wischusen asks him if he would make a case for his teammates in the secondary to come back, and Collins praises other teammates Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins (who were both suspended by the Giants at points this yer), but criticizes Apple.
“There’s only just one corner that has to establish, needs to grow up, and we all know who that is. That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides, the other two guys, [Rodgers-Cromartie] and [Jenkins], I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. But that first pick, I don’t think… he’s a cancer.”
Those are some strong comments, but they’re also somewhat understandable considering the criticism Apple’s play has taken this season. And some of the criticisms stretch back beyond that, such as this video of big plays he gave up last year:
And the criticism has continued this year, with Apple “critiqued more vociferously than any other player” in a film session after the Giants’ Nov. 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and with him “almost walking out on the team” and getting benched as a result. It looks like the Giants may be looking to move on from him, too, as Apple didn’t even play a defensive snap in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It’s pretty unusual to see a team get rid of a 10th-overall pick after just two years, but Collins’ “cancer” comments make it seem pretty clear that Apple isn’t popular with his teammates, and his on-field play has left a lot to be desired as well. We’ll see where things go from here, but having an impressive and respected veteran like Collins call you a “cancer” in a radio interview probably isn’t a good sign for your career.