New York Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said on Friday that he has no plans to interject himself into the back-and-forth between Landon Collins and Eli Apple.
“I really don’t,” Spagnuolo said. “We are a family. There are going to be disagreements in families and grown men. I’m banking on it will all get worked out.”
In a disappointing, often ugly season for the Giants in which far too much family business has spilled into the open, the Collins-Apple controversy is the latest example of the team’s dysfunction.
On Wednesday, Collins said he was among a group of teammates who had tried to help Apple cope with a difficult season during which he has been inactive the past four games. On Thursday, Apple said that wasn’t the case. He had talked to some teammates about his situation, but denied Collins had been among players trying trying to help.
Collins is the best player on the Giants’ defense and an emerging leader as he completes his third season. Spagnuolo said Friday that he has “truly” seen signs of Collins developing into a leader.
“It might have been back in training camp I saw signs of that and I went over and told him. I think it’s really good when a young guy grows in whatever area that we give him feedback so they understand. Every time that I’ve done that, I’ve found that they then make another leap,” Spagnuolo said. “Landon is not a rah-rah, vocal guy. I think more than anything, Landon leads with how hard he works, how much he loves the game of football. He truly does. He loves the game of football and wants to be around it, wants to do anything involved with it and I respect that. I think the other players recognize that and a lot of respect comes with that.”
Apple, the Giants’ 2016 first-round pick, would seem to have less standing in the locker room. He would appear to have much work to do to repair his relationships with teammates and coaches if he hopes to be part of the team’s future.