Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple is headed to the AFC Championship Game next Sunday. He and the Bengals will take on the Kansas City Chiefs with a Super Bowl berth on the line. After a tumultuous start to his career, Apple is reveling in the team’s playoff success and isn’t afraid to talk about it.
On Sunday several tweets were sent from his verified account.
“Idk which fan base I hate more prolly the saints but It’s close wit the giants it’s a toss up.”
Apple went on to call New Orleans the “dirtiest smelliest city”, and continued to go at the Saints fans. He also called Saints’ quarterback Jameis Winston “crab legs.” Of course, Apple praised Bengals’ fans as most “loyal and knowledgeable.”
Apple spent his first two and a half seasons in New York as a member of the Giants, and then a year and a half with the New Orleans Saints. After a brief stint with the Carolina Panthers he signed a one year deal with Cincinnati.
The former No. 10 overall pick had 38 solo tackles, 10 pass deflections, and two interceptions this season. His allowed completion percentage as the nearest defender in coverage is 4.8 percent below expectation, the best percentage on the team, according to NFL Next Gen.
“I’ll say I’m definitely having the most fun,” Apple told ESPN. “I’ve been the most healthy. I’ve been the most happy that I’ve been, I feel like, in a long time.”
Those early years were rough, and he was labeled as a “locker room cancer” in New York before being moved to New Orleans.
“Eli getting all the revenge this season from all he’s taken over the years. I love the villain role. We on top,” one fan wrote, to which Apple replied, “Being the hero is overrated, im here to terrorize cities and crush opposing wrs dreams and hopes.. truly grateful to God for providing all he has for me.”
This is by far his best season as a pro, and if he’s able to continue producing results, he will likely be rewarded with a more lucrative deal.
“I’ll say I’m definitely having the most fun,” Apple said. “I’ve been the most healthy. I’ve been the most happy that I’ve been, I feel like, in a long time.”
Structure and stability are important for young players coming into the league, and for whatever reason he didn’t have that in New York or New Orleans.
Though Apple isn’t placing all the blame for his early struggles on the Giants and Saints. He said he “didn’t handle everything great in New York” and lacked the maturity to handle adversity and keep negative events from affecting him.
“I’ll have a good moment and then something else would happen, it would be a bad moment,” Apple said. “I wouldn’t be able to bounce back the way I need to.”
Three teams in your first five years in the league will do that to just about anybody, but it’s good to see Apple realizing some of his potentials.
He’s obviously not all the way where he wants or needs to be, as evidenced by the Twitter back-and-forth, but he’s improving.
“You gotta just worry about yourself and know that whatever you think about yourself is way more important than somebody else,” Apple said. “As long as you work hard and put that work in, you don’t gotta worry about anybody else.”