For Eli Apple, his short-lived tenure with the Carolina Panthers was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, now, it’s all just history.
The Cincinnati Bengals starting cornerback briefly revisited the past on Wednesday. When asked about his five-month stint in Carolina by The Athletic‘s Joseph Person, Apple said the organization didn’t (and couldn’t) get the best of him.
Bengals CB Eli Apple on being in the Super Bowl after being cut by Panthers last season: “Charlotte was just tough, being hurt all the time. They didn’t get the real me out there.”
— Joe Person (@josephperson) February 9, 2022
After signing a one-year, $3 million deal, the former first-round pick appeared in just a pair of games for the Panthers in 2020. Apple spent the first three weeks of the campaign on the injured reserve with foot and ankle issues.
His return in Week 4 would see him on the field for only six special teams plays against the Arizona Cardinals. He’d pop up again in Week 7 following two more games of inactivity, chalking up four tackles over 28 defensive snaps.
A subsequent hamstring injury would then speed up his expiration date in Carolina, as he’d be released just two days after that contest.
Person, additionally, elaborated that he led in his question to Apple yesterday by referencing the report regarding his alleged (and sour) interaction with head coach Matt Rhule upon his release. To that, he didn’t have anything to elaborate on himself.
And why would he? He’s just a few days away from getting a shot at football immortality, regardless of who thought his NFL career would be dead by now.