Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Nobody on the New York Giants is having a very good season, but that’s especially true of second-year corner Eli Apple. Apple has struggled on the field while his team has gone 2-13. He’s also reportedly has been unpopular in the locker room all year, and he was benched for four games earlier in the season for undisclosed reasons while his unit has gone on to have the second-worst pass defense in the league. Two days after enduring a 23-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, another member of the Giants secondary, safety Landon Collins, went on the radio and called Apple one of the worst things you could call a teammate—a cancer.

“There’s only just one corner that 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, the other two guys, DRC 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.”

A day later, Collins apologized.

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But this wasn’t the first time Collins has publicly criticized Apple. Earlier this month, Collins said that he’d had conversations with Apple about the cornerback’s struggles but, the next day, Apple denied that he had ever talked to Collins about any of that. Soon after, following a loss to the Eagles, Collins went on ESPN New York radio and said of Apple, “I think he finally understands that even if you’re a first-rounder, you can always be cut.”

“He has to grow up,” Collins added.

It’s been a significant drop-off for Apple from an impressive rookie year on a playoff team. Only Apple knows why, and the NFL’s culture doesn’t exactly encourage players to give honest answers. But as the Giants bring in a new coach and a new general manager, this drama on the defense will likely be one of the first things they’ll look to sweep up.