After starting 11 games his rookie season, 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple has had a much more difficult second season.
Apple has been benched, criticized his coach and publically feuded with Giants' Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins. Many questions have been raised of his maturity, and no one really knows what happened.
Dan Duggan of NJ.com set out to find answers and discovered that he's had a falling out with his step-father Tim Apple, who Eli has leaned on much of his life.
"One of the biggest reasons Eli is declining so much this year as opposed to last year is (Tim's absence)," Dane Blackson, Apple's half-brother, told Duggan. "I know everyone always talks about the fame and all of the attention and how all of that can go to your head. But you have to imagine that from middle school to the NFL, Tim was there. Tim made this whole thing happen. Tim didn't miss a game. Whenever Eli looked for that support, that was always there. Now, this year whenever he goes to look for support, it's not real, it's not genuine."
Eli hasn't spoken with Tim since June. Tim had been working as Eli's manager before Eli fired Tim.
"I love my son and I miss my son," Tim told Duggan. "That's the bottom line. That's really what it's about at this point: I miss my son."
Blackson can't believe what has happened with Eli.
"Just growing up if you had told me things would end up this way, I wouldn't believe you. 'Eli will go all the way to the Giants and not be family-oriented?' " Blackson said. "He's burning bridges left and right and he's losing the people that really care about him and love him no matter what."