An already difficult season has taken an even worse turn for Eli Apple, as his season with the New York Giants is over.
The Eli Apple saga has taken yet another rotten turn.
The second-year cornerback’s eventful season is officially over, as the New York Giants announced he would be suspended for the team’s Sunday season finale at home against the Washington Redskins (1:00 PM, FOX).
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 27, 2017
The suspension officially ends Apple’s tumultuous sophomore season, one whose epilogue began to be written when teammate and fellow defender Landon Collins labeled him a “cancer” in an ESPN Radio interview.
In a team statement, interim general manager Kevin Abrams announced “we have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team”.
With reporters gathered around his locker after Wednesday’s practice, seeking comment on the Collins situation, Apple excused himself, announcing he had to use the restroom, though his wording was much different.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) December 27, 2017
Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said he talked to Collins and Apple, both individually and together, about the recent turn of events during his post-practice press conference. After a “good conversation”, he considered the matter closed.
“We had a quick conversation this morning and then I had a quick conversation with Eli and then all three of us had a really good conversation and it was very productive and I’ll just leave it at that,” Spagnuolo revealed. “It’s between them and they were really great.”
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Dan Graziano possibly provided further evidence for the suspension, stating that Apple got into a turbulent verbal confrontation with secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton.
Eli Apple had some sort of argument with coaches at practice Wednesday, including CB coach Tim Walton, sources told myself and Dan Graziano. This was surely part of a "pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team" but not the only reason… https://t.co/nkNi6voYel
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) December 27, 2017
I was told Apple had to be restrained by teammates during an argument with Walton at practice today. Not the first time the two have squabbled. https://t.co/qGgNrhRGip
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) December 27, 2017
Apple played no defensive snaps in the Giants’ most recent loss, a 23-0 defeat in Arizona on Christmas Eve. One week prior, Apple played 60 of 68 snaps against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium, the first game Apple suited up for in four weeks. Prior to the Giants’ November 19 win over Kansas City, Apple was excused from practice to tend to his mother Annie, who was undergoing brain surgery. He was inactive for the Chiefs game, but remained there for the next three games before returning for the Eagles game.
Apple was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Ohio State, which ended with Apple securing Defensive MVP honors at the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. 2016 produced a solid rookie season, featuring 51 tackles, seven pass deflections, an interception and a forced fumble, but to label his second season a sophomore slump is a late contender for understatement of the year.
In the midst of the Giants’ woebegone season, Apple’s effort has been called into question several times. For example, many accused Apple of giving up on catching Robert Woods when the Los Angeles Rams receiver went 52 yards on 3rd and 33 to score in the Giants’ infamous 51-17 defeat in November. When several of his plays were featured in a team meeting former head coach Ben McAdoo labeled “brutally honest”, a distraught Apple reportedly nearly stormed out of the team facility.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) November 6, 2017
Further Apple controversies this season include missing the Giants’ first post-bye week practice after experiencing travel issues and and an in-game suspension during the Giants’ October loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. More recently, an inactive Apple retweeted an Ohio State fan account’s post commemorating an 81-yard touchdown Dallas Cowboys running back Rod Smith scored against the Giants during the teams’ December 10 meeting, complete with the account’s caption declaring Smith’s scored “iced the New York Giants”.
Though Collins said he talked with Apple about the social media mishap, Apple reported the next day that the safety never addressed the situation with him.
Apple becomes the third cornerback the Giants have suspended this season. Under McAdoo, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for the Giants’ October 15 visit to Denver, while Janoris Jenkins was kept out of the Rams game. Both suspensions, each for conduct detrimental to the team, were labeled indefinite, but ended up only lasting a week.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490