The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Apple vows to do better
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Apple is vowing to mend his ways after being given a second chance by the New York Giants.
The 22-year-old cornerback who was the 10th pick in the 2016 draft on Monday promised to be a better player, a better person, and a better teammate as the Giants start a rebuilding process under new coach Pat Shurmur after a 3-13 season.
It was a year Apple would like to forget, both on and off the field. He started only seven games, was inactive for four and was suspended for the final game of the schedule after getting into an argument with the coaching staff. The Ohio State product also got in a beef with Landon Collins that ended with the star safety calling him a cancer.
It was ugly and highlighted a year in which Apple dealt with a crisis at home: His mother had brain surgery.
“Was I embarrassed? Of course,” Apple said after the Giants held a two-hour practice at the first of their 10 organized team activities. “Nobody wants to go out the way I went out. I mean, it was all over the place, so of course.
Many wondered whether the Giants would want Apple back after his second season, one that many had forecast would provide a great leap forward for him.
What changed, though, was the Giants shaking up things after last season. Dave Gettleman was hired to replace Jerry Reese as general manager and Shurmur replaced interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, who had taken over when Ben McAdoo was fired in early December.
One of the first things Gettleman did was tell him everyone was starting with a clean slate.
“I’m just going to finetune everything, come in with a different attitude and just be positive out there on the field, and just do everything that I can to make myself better as a player, and everybody else better as a team,” Apple said.
There is no doubt Apple needs to improve. He finished with 49 tackles and two fumble recoveries last season. He did not have an interception and has only one in two seasons.
The Giants showed some faith in him by releasing veteran Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in the offseason.
Apple said he’s trying to mature and improve how he communicates with coaches and teammates. He said he has patched up his relationship with Collins.
Despite all the problems, Apple said his confidence was not shaken. He admits being blindsided by all the attention he got. His goal this season is to work hard, be positive and try to be on an even keel.
“Maybe I got a little too confident a little bit in thinking I was going to make a big step,” he said. “It’s about just taking it day by day and continuing to be patient, and just know my time’s going to come.”
NOTES: Shurmur threw out the first pitch at the Mets game with Arizona on Sunday. It was short and wide toward the visitors dugout. It was not as bad as the 50 Cent mode, but it was not good.
“Yeah, well, I was wasting a pitch” Shurmur quipped. “That’s what I was doing, like some good pitchers might.
“There are certain things that you try to not redo.”
⏩ First-round draft pick and new father Saquon Barkley showed some deft moves off the field when asked about combining football and family life.
“It actually kind of sucks a little bit — well that came off wrong at first,” he said. “It kind of sucks because I’m not with my daughter as much as I would love to be because obviously training camp, rookie minicamp, OTAs and then I had to go to L.A. for the Rookie Premiere. But I get to see her this weekend, so that is going to be great to be able to hold her again.”