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Eli Apple reflects on “two best years” of career with Bengals

Apple found love for his profession again playing for the Bengals.

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

For a second consecutive offseason, Eli Apple’s future in the NFL hangs in the balance.

The polarizing cornerback is entering free agency once more after spending his second season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Though there have been notable ups and downs during this two-year run, Apple has fit in with the Bengals’ defense more than he performed like a liability.

The seventh-year veteran didn’t hold back when describing what coming to Cincinnati meant to him.

“It definitely brought back the love for the game feeling, especially leaving New Orleans the way I did,” Apple said to Geoff Hobson of “And then going to the Panthers and not making it there and coming here and not knowing what to expect and then having the two best years ever in my life.”

The burned bridges of Apple’s past made him a villain in the eyes of most fans and players alike. But the Bengals fed off his energy, as did the fans during the franchise’s most successful two-year run in history.

It’s hard to predict whether or not Apple returns for a third year in the Queen City, but the door is definitely open on his end.

“It’s a beautiful city. (Cincinnati) is underrated. I’ll definitely come back,” Apple said of a possible visit. “I want to go anywhere I’m wanted. No team like (this one). Can’t catch that feel anywhere else. Maybe you could, but I don’t know, I’ve been a lot of other places. It’s rare.”