Eli Apple looked out at a swarm of media members who wanted to ask him about something he probably wished he didn’t have to talk about — his miserable 2017 season.
Apple didn’t hide. He didn’t say he was just there to talk about the future. He admitted that he was embarrassed by the 2017 season, which included him being called out for lack of effort and suspended for an argument with a coach.
“Was I embarrassed? Of course. Nobody wants to go out the way I went out,” he said “I’m just trying to be a better player, a better person, a better teammate this year.”
Apple said that “everything” needs to be different from 2017. He said he wants to “come in with a different attitude, be positive out there on the field and do everything I can to make myself better as a player and everybody else better as a team.”
One of the things Apple needed to do was patch up his relationship with safety Landon Collins after the two had a much-publicized falling out last season. He appears to have done that, saying he and Collins have a “great” relationship.
“It’s all about getting an understanding. We talked and put everything behind us. It’s all about moving forward now,” Apple said.
Head coach Pat Shurmur on Monday praised Apple’s work thus far.
“I’m sure glad that I truly believe in a clean slate,” Shurmur said. “He’s been nothing but professional, he’s been out here competing, he’s one of the guys that has been here almost every single day and I haven’t seen anything that somebody might have thought I heard. He’s been great.”
This was a good start for the 22-year-old who, in addition to his problems on the field and with teammates last season, was at times uncooperative with media last season.
He smiled. He didn’t squirm when asked questions about last season. He didn’t refuse to answer. He owned up to the fact that last year wasn’t good enough and saids that “maybe I got a little too confident a little bit in thinking I was going to make a big step.”
“The way stuff ended I didn’t want it to ever get to that. Every day I’ve been thinking about being better, being more positive,” Apple said.
There is no telling where Apple’s career will go from here. It is, however, important to remember that he is still a 22-year-old trying to figure out life. He seems to have made some strides. The Giants can only hope that those strides lead him to becoming a player who justifies his status as the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“It’s all about football right now. It’s about being a better teammate and being the best football player i can be,” Apple said. “I think I can be a great Pro Bowl player, it’s just about every day going about my business and being a great player every day and being consistent.”