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Eli Apple is vowing to mend his ways after being given a
second chance by the New York Giants.

The 22-year-old cornerback who was the 10th pick in the 2016 draft on Monday
promised to be a better player Geno
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, a better person, and a better teammate as the
Giants start a rebuilding process under new coach Pat Shurmur after a 3-13

It was a year Apple would like to forget, both on and off the field. He
started only seven games, was inactive for four and was suspended for the final
game of the schedule after getting into an argument with the coaching staff. The
Ohio State product also got in a beef with Landon Collins that ended with the
star safety calling him a cancer.

It was ugly and highlighted a year in which Apple dealt with a crisis at
home: His mother had brain surgery.

"Was I embarrassed? Of course," Apple said after the Giants held a two-hour
practice at the first of their 10 organized team activities. "Nobody wants to go
out the way I went out. I mean, it was all over the place, so of course.

Many wondered whether the Giants would want Apple back after his second
season, one that many had forecast would provide a great leap forward for

What changed, though, was the Giants shaking up things after last season.
Dave Gettleman was hired to replace Jerry Reese as general manager and Shurmur
replaced interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, who had taken over when Ben McAdoo was
fired in early December.

One of the first things Gettleman did was tell him everyone was starting with
a clean slate.

"I'm just going to fine tune everything, come in with a different attitude
and just be positive out there on the field, and just do everything that I can
to make myself better as a player, and everybody else better as a team," Apple

There is no doubt Apple needs to improve. He finished with 49 tackles and two
fumble recoveries last season. He did not have an interception and has only one
in two seasons.

The Giants showed some faith in him by releasing veteran Dominque
Rodgers-Cromartie in the offseason.

Apple said he's trying to mature and improve how he communicates with coaches
and teammates. He said he has patched up his relationship with Collins.

Despite all the problems Rigoberto
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, Apple said his confidence was not shaken. He
admits being blindsided by all the attention he got. His goal this season is to
work hard, be positive and try to be on an even keel.

"Maybe I got a little too confident a little bit in thinking I was going to
make a big step," he said. "It's about just taking it day by day and continuing
to be patient, and just know my time's going to come."

For now, Apple has an idea who he is.

"I think I'm a 22 year-old guy, just ready to get to work and continue to
work hard and just build on that," he said.

NOTES: Shurmur threw out the first pitch at the Mets game with Arizona on
Sunday. It was short and wide toward the visitors dugout. It was not as bad as
the 50 Cent mode , but it was not good.

"Yeah, well, I was wasting a pitch" Shurmur quipped, adding he has a new
appreciation for baseball while insisting he did not have a case of jitters.
"That's what I was doing, like some good pitchers might.

"There are certain things that you try to not redo." ... First-round draft
pick and new father Saquon Barkley showed some deft moves off the field when
asked about combining football and family life.

"It actually kind of sucks a little bit - well that came off wrong at first,"
he said. "It kind of sucks because I'm not with my daughter as much as I would
love to be because obviously training camp, rookie minicamp, OTAs and then I had
to go to L.A. for the Rookie Premiere. But I get to see her this
weekend Tashaun
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, so that is going to be great to be able to hold her

Aaron Rodgers‘ eventful offseason included a trip to India to see the
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and a pit stop to watch his girlfriend, race
car driver Danica Patrick, at Daytona.

He also purchased a minority stake in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

This week, it’s back to the practice field for the two-time NFL MVP.

On-field offseason workouts have started for the Green Bay Packers. They are
especially important for a team that has had a lot of change since the end of a
7-9 season.

New general manager Brian Gutekunst cut longtime receiver Jordy Nelson;
signed veteran tight end Jimmy Graham; and drafted three receivers all 6-foot-3
or taller. Former Packers assistant Joe Philbin is back as offensive
coordinator. The playbook got a thorough review.

”Change can be really good … any time you’re in a situation where you’ve had
the same type of things going on for a number of years, it’s nice to change it
up in some positions, yeah,” Rodgers said at Lambeau Field after practice.

Not to say that the loss of Nelson, a salary cap casualty, didn’t hurt.
Nelson was a team leader. He was especially close to Rodgers, and fellow
receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.

”Honestly, it has nothing to do with this football team. He’s a good dude,
and we built up a really good relationship over these last four years,” said
Adams Jeff
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, who has assumed the role of the Packers’ No. 1

As for the playbook, Adams calls the changes more a fine-tuning of what’s
worked in the past.

”It’s kind of more of a mentality of how we’re attacking people. I love it,”
Adams said. ”As long as we keep to it, keep working at things and clean
everything up, it’s going to be more dangerous (than) it’s been in the

At the very least, the Packers hope they are in much better shape than 2017,
when the offense struggled with Rodgers sidelined much of the season by a broken
collarbone. After several weeks of classroom work, they were eager to take what
they’ve learned out on the field.

”There’s a little bit of an `It’s-about-time feel to it,”’ Packers coach Mike
McCarthy said before practice.

In Philbin, McCarthy brought a reassuring presence back to the coaching

Philbin was offensive coordinator from 2007-11 before leaving to take the
Miami Dolphins head coaching job. He was the coordinator when Rodgers took over
the starting job in 2008, and when the Packers won the Super Bowl two seasons

Rodgers calls Philbin a ”fantastic teacher” who commands a room. Philbin said
Rodgers is processing the game in his mind even faster now compared to when he
last coached him in 2011.

Rodgers also remains a master at preparation. There is no better role model
for backups Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer.

”From a preparation standpoint, he’s been excellent, both in the quarterback
room and the unit room. He’s obviously got an outstanding command of what we’re
doing, what we want to do,” Philbin said.

Off the field Patrick
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, he’ll get back to cheering on his girlfriend this
weekend. Patrick is driving her final race at the Indy 500 on Sunday.

Rodgers said he watched from pit road for a while when Patrick was at Daytona
in February. He’s hoping that Patrick can take the checkered flag at the

”She’s had a lot of success at Indy over the years,” Rodgers said. ”I think
several top 10s, hoping she goes out with a bang.”

NOTES: Asked about the possibility of the Packers adding receiver Dez Bryant,
who was cut by the Cowboys, Rodgers said, ”Well, we like young receivers. So I’m
assuming that’s the way they’re going to keep going. I don’t know why you’d cut
Jordy and bring in Dez, but he’s a talented player.” Besides taking three
receivers in the draft, the Packers also have returnees Geronimo Allison and
Trevor Davis competing for more targets. ”He’s going to end up somewhere”
Rodgers said about Bryant. ”If he ends up here, we’d obviously welcome him with
open arms and get him up to speed as quick as possible.”

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