Eli Apple is once again looking for an NFL team. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft was released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, a day where the cornerback left practice early due to a hamstring injury. Apple was spotted at the start of Tuesday's session before leaving the field. The team said in its official injury report that the 25-year-old was a non-participant due to the injury and head coach Matt Rhule told reporters that Apple informed the team that he couldn't go.
"He just didn't feel like he could go, so we sent him inside for treatment," Rhule said, via the official team website. "Sometimes it's just better just to have guys inside, getting treatment and trying to get them as close as possible."
While the timing of Apple's release is a bit odd when factoring in that situation in practice where he told coaches he couldn't go, the Panthers aren't exactly losing a key piece to their secondary with this move. The corner started the year on injured reserve due to a myriad of injuries he suffered throughout training camp and was activated before Week 4. Apple had appeared in just two games this season for Carolina, including Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints. In that game, Apple played just 28 defensive snaps and recorded four tackles.
From here, Apple, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Panthers back in May, will be looking for his fourth team in six years in the league after also falling out of favor with the Giants -- the team that drafted him -- and Saints.