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Giants “trying to build up” Eli Apple, on and off the field

Second-year corner could play Sunday for first time in five games

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Could corrnerback Eli Apple actually be headed toward playing this Sunday for the New York Giants? Apple, inactive for the past four games for a variety of reasons, was not on the team’s injury report on Wednesday. That is the first time in several weeks his name has been absent.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo said Apple has “gotten past” whatever injuries had been bothering him.

Apple apparently worked with the scout team defense on Wednesday.

“Worked with the scout team. He did some special teams reps, so we’re kind of getting him, trying to oil him back up,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll see where he is at the end of the week. At the end, you got to make a decision on 46 players, so that’ll all unfold as the week goes.”

This has been a difficult season for the Giants’ 2016 first-round pick. He was benched for part of a game for disciplinary reasons. Coaches and teammates were critical of his effort against the San Francisco 49ers. He has not played since being deactivated four games ago when he spent much of the week at his mom’s bedside when she dealt with brain surgery.

“I don’t want to pass judgement on a kid’s attitude or character. I think that’s just between me and him, but the tweeting obviously was very disappointing. I think I mentioned that the other day. We got past that with an apology. We’re men,” Spagnuolo said. “Now, he has some – he’s going to have to deal with some repercussions because of that. He’s a young man that, look it, I’m into building up and not breaking down. So, we’ll keep trying to build up.”

Giants’ safety Landon Collins said that the 22-year-old Apple “has a lot of personal issues” right now.

“He’s got a lot of personal things going on at this point in his life,” Collins said. “I’m surprised he’s still here and didn’t step away from the game because most players would. But he’s got a lot going on in his situation. That’s when you have to be a brother towards him and know and tell him that you got his back and we are here for you.”

Collins said he and others have talked with Apple, trying to help him through whatever he is dealing with.

“At the end of the day, we have to go into battle whether if he’s on the field or not on the field. We have to go to practice with him and we need him to be here. We need him to want to be here and not fighting against us or fighting against the coaches,” Collins said. “Because if he’s fighting against the coaches or the organization or whatever he’s fighting against in his head, we don’t need him fighting us because that causes conflict.”