Saturday’s report that Eli Apple nearly walked out on the New York Giants twice when criticized by coaches and teammates during a “brutally honest” film session following a loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers is a disturbing one.
Apple was the Giants’ first-round pick (10th overall) in 2016. That’s a big investment, and the team obviously believes he has the ability to play at a high level and be a good player for them going forward.
The report said that Apple “was so upset with pointed criticism directed at him by coaches and especially his teammates that not once, but twice, he nearly walked out of the team facility, seeking to get away from it all.”
His inconsistent play this season, his midseason comments about the locker room culture, and now this are all troubling.
Apple came out of Ohio State with scouts drooling over the physical skills, which he has shown at times in two seasons with the Giants. There was also the odd “can’t cook” report, which, in retrospect, appears more prescient when you look at the full quote:
“I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can't cook. Just a baby. He's not first round for me. He scares me to death."
Apple was benched for the first three series of a game earlier this season for what was called disciplinary reasons. He was inactive against the Kansas City Chiefs because of practice time missed as he dealt with his mom’s surgery. He was also inactive Thursday, with coach Ben McAdoo saying it was still because of the missed practice time.
This report, though, makes you wonder. Both about the reason Apple didn’t play vs. the Washington Redskins and about his long-term future with the Giants.
The Giants are going to need Apple as they finish out the season. Cornerbacks Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) and Janoris Jenkins (possible ankle surgery) both could be headed to IR.
That means Apple will have to play. Those five games might give us an indication of whether or not he has a future with the Giants.