EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple was embarrassed when his second NFL season ended with a suspension for the last week of the season.
The troubled campaign included several benchings and some worrying incidents with teammates, coaches and managers.
Giant Broad Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was on Monday's first organized team activity training and warmed up with his teammates. He also participated in a few individual exercises before heading out to a coach's side.
Apple acknowledged that he may have been overcome last year. He remained and was looking for a better player, teammate and person this offseason.
"Was I embarrassed?" Of course, "he said Monday after the first organized team activity training from spring." Nobody wants to go out so I went out. It was everywhere. "Of course."
The first round in 201
It was welcome news with rumors that frightened his future with the franchise during the non-nonsense new regime.
"I think it went well," Apple said about his conversation with Gettleman. "He just told me he wanted to put everything behind me, just talking about pure slate. He said he was excited. I'm also excited."
The giants were excited about Apple's potential after a promising rookie season. But it fell from last year. He was about family issues blowing into his work and performance.
It reached the point where security Landon Collins called Apple "a cancer" late in the season. Apple believes that bad blood is in the past.
"That's good," he said about their relationship now. "It's about getting an understanding. We talked and put everything behind us. It's about moving on now."
Apple, 22, was last released at the end of last year for "a pattern of behavior that injures the team" following an incident on training with a coach. It was a fitting end to a mess of a season.
He claims that he has looked in the mirror and noticed a need for change. He agreed that this offseason would happen.
"Because there were obviously things that happened," he said. "I want to keep working with myself, communicate better, do not let some things come to me. Continue to strive and get better every day."
The giants have been pleased with what they have seen so far. They are planning Apple to be an important part of the team. He ran with the starting answer on cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins on Monday.
Apple does not believe he is the same player or person as last year. There have been changes.
"Everything," he said. "My habits, all I've done, I can touch. I'll just fine-tune everything and come in with a different attitude and be positive in the field and do all I can to make me better as a player and everyone else who's playing."
Early returns have been positive from the giant perspective.
"Yes, I'm sure happy – yes, you hear things, but I'm sure I really think of a clean slate," said Shurmur. "He has been professional only, he has been out to compete, he is one of the guys who have been here almost every day and I have not seen anything somebody thought I heard. He has been good."
When Apple looks in the mirror now he looks a little different than last year.
"A 22-year-old guy is just ready to go to work. Continue working hard and build on it," he said. "It's just about football right now. Being a better teammate and being the best football game I could be."
He later added: "I think I can be a big Pro Bowl player. It's about working every day with my business and being a good player every day and being consistent."