Carolina Panthers | Release Eli Apple After Leaving Practice Early

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The Carolina Panthers on Tuesday released cornerback Eli Apple hours after he left practice for treatment on a hamstring injury that has hampered him much of the season.

Eli Apple, 25, signed a one-year, $3 million deal in May, but he was active for only two games due to injuries.

The 10th pick of the 2016 draft by the New York Giants, Apple spent the first three games on injured reserve with ankle/foot injuries. He played only six special-teams snaps in a Week 4 win against Arizona.

Apple played 28 snaps in Sunday’s loss at New Orleans, recording four tackles against the last team he played for before coming to Carolina.

“He just didn’t feel like he could go, so we sent him inside,” coach Matt Rhule said.

The Panthers, already missing starting corner Rasul Douglas, who went on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list last week, will enter the Atlanta game with rookie Troy Pride Jr. and Donte Jackson starting at corner.

The only other corners currently on the 53-man roster are nickelback Corn Elder and rookie Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, so the team might have to sign another player if Douglas isn’t reactivated.

Apple was active for only the second time this season in the Panthers’ Week Seven loss to the Saints, playing 28 defensive snaps and recording four tackles.

Eli Apple Past History

The exact reasoning behind Apple’s release is unclear, but he has had a history of immaturity in a five-year NFL career. His most notable transgressions came with the Giants. when he became a central character in the team’s locker room dysfunction during a 3-13 season in 2017. Apple was benched multiple times for disciplinary reasons stemming from both poor effort on the field and his misbehavior off it.