Landon Collins won’t be on the field with Eli Apple for Sunday’s game against Washington, and it sounds like he hopes he never is again in the future.
The Pro Bowl safety was on ESPN Radio in New York on Tuesday ripping Apple, with whom he has been in a smoldering feud for the past two weeks. This latest verbal assault was by far the most direct and had Collins referring to Apple as “a cancer.”
Collins was asked in the interview how he might analyze the secondary if the Giants’ future general manager and coach asked him to do so. After a long pause and a chuckle, he launched into his breakdown.
“There’s one corner that has to establish and needs to grow, and we all know who that is,” Collins said. “That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides that, the other two guys, DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins), I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. But that first pick? . . . He’s a cancer.”
Collins never said Apple by name, but he’s the only first-round pick for the Giants in the secondary. And Collins has been talking about Apple for a while. Last week, Collins spoke about the need for Apple to “grow up” and said that he and other veterans were not so much mentoring Apple as “raising” him.
Whether the Giants and their new leadership will be willing to move on from Apple after just two years remains to be seen. Teams rarely part ways with a 10th overall selection this quickly, especially when injuries are not involved. Apple remains a talented player — even by Collins’ assessments — and the Giants need as many of those as possible. Clearly, though, if the decision on Apple were to be up to Collins, it would be a resounding “No.”
Their spat began two weeks ago when Collins spoke about the heart-to-heart conversations he’d had with Apple, who had not played in four games. Apple denied those conversations ever took place while Collins stood by his account. That apparently opened the rift between the two players who are supposed to be young cornerstones of the Giants secondary.
Apple was active on Sunday against the Cardinals for the second game in a row, but he did not play on defense. Instead, interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo played Brandon Dixon and Darryl Morris against Larry Fitzgerald. Spagnuolo insisted it was a decision based on the chemistry of the less-known players. Apple played seven special teams snaps in the 23-0 loss.
Collins’ latest comments came on a day when he was placed on injured reserve. He had surgery on his fractured right forearm on Monday, a day after suffering the injury. Andrew Adams likely will start in his place on Sunday. The Giants signed LB Derrick Mathews off their practice squad to take Collins’ place on the 53-man roster.
Collins will miss the first game of his three-year career, ending his streak of consecutive starts at 47. He also comes one tackle short of his third straight season with 100 or more tackles (he has 99), though he will certainly wind up leading the team in the category for the third straight season. Damon Harrison has the second-most tackles on the squad with 71.