Landon Collins Calls Giants Teammate Eli Apple a Cancer During Interview

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist

New York Giants' Landon Collins (21) and Eli Apple (24) walk up to the line of scrimmage in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple has struggled through an up-and-down 2017 season, which hasn't gone unnoticed by teammate Landon Collins.

Collins called the 2016 first-round pick a cancer during a radio interview Tuesday with Bob Wischusen of ESPN, per Ian O'Connor of ESPN.com.

"There is only one corner who needs to grow up and we all know who that is," Collins said, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN. "That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides, the other two guys, [Rodgers-Cromarie] and [Jenkins], I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. That first pick...he's a cancer."

Apple has been in and out of the lineup this season and played zero defensive snaps against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

He played only seven special teams snaps a week after earning significant playing time in Week 15. Apple was inactive from Weeks 11 through 14.

While he started seven games earlier this year, he isn't out of his coaching staff's doghouse.

Meanwhile, Collins' patience has worn thin with Apple, who is just one year younger than him. The two-time Pro Bowler recently said the 22-year-old Apple "has to grow up," via Raanan:

"As a player, he's a great player. As a man, he has his ups and downs. But when he's on the field, I think he's trying to be as much accountable as he can. He understands, I think the business side of the game did it to him, because this game is not for long. And I think he finally understands that even if you're a first-rounder, you can always be cut."

Apple is also dealing with off-field issues, as the New York Post reported Dec. 23. Apple's mother, Annie, recently underwent brain surgery. Dan Duggan of NJ.com also reported Dec. 23 that his stepfather, Tim Apple, and the cornerback had an "abrupt falling out."

"One of the biggest reasons Eli is declining so much this year as opposed to last year is (Tim's absence)," Apple's half-brother Dane Blackson told Duggan. "I know everyone always talks about the fame and all of the attention and how all of that can go to your head."

The Giants defense is suffering from the second-year player's struggles. It ranks last in the NFL in yards allowed.

It likely will be even worse in Week 17, as the Giants placed Collins on injured reserve after he fractured his forearm Sunday.