The Giants selected Eli Apple in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft because they were desperate to improve their secondary. Apple, who starred at Ohio State, was considered one of the draft's best cornerbacks and he showed glimpses of that potential during his rookie season.
But Year 2 has been an unmitigated disaster; Apple was demoted, reportedly considered walking out on the team -- twice -- only to hang around and serve as a distraction on the sidelines and in the locker room. Teammate Landon Collins even had to apologize for calling Apple immature during a radio appearance. It wasn't that Collins was wrong, just that he made the comments publicly.
And with one game left in the Giants' forgettable season, Apple, 22, has been suspended.
Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who played in just five games this season before landing on injured reserve -- and whose mercurial personality has in the past rubbed teammates the wrong way -- says he wants to help Apple.
"I do have compassion for him," said Marshall, via the New York Post. "I talk to him. I want to spend time with him this offseason. I told him it's not about football. I want to help him get through this because my story, I ended up in a mental institute for three months in an outpatient program."
Marshall, 33, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011 and has been an outspoken advocate for others -- whether they are affected by the disorder or not -- ever since.
"Like so many other guys in this locker room that were Atlas, the guy who's holding up the world, you're holding up your family and everybody around," Marshall said. "What that does to a person, especially a young kid, fresh out of college with no life experiences, that can break people down. … That's what I saw when I read that story, a guy that's really struggling off the field and having a tough time being a professional every single day when he comes to work."
Marshall continued: "He's a phenomenal athlete. He's a good person. He's just going through some things right now. So with the proper approach and the right people around him, he can get his career back on track.
"Because the last thing you want to be is labeled. … As soon as anything comes up that looks anything like something of the past, it's thrown right back in your face. … People don't give you that grace when you go through things, and you're labeled a cancer, or you're labeled a problem or a bad teammate."