New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal apologized again Thursday after he slammed Giants fans earlier this week following their rough start to the season.
Neal gestured at Giants fans as he was walking off the field following their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, and then called them “bandwagoners” and “fair-weather” fans Wednesday. Giants fans are, of course, upset after the team has started the season 1-3 and been on the wrong end of three rough blowouts.
Neal also took a shot at fans who had been critical of him and implied that they were simply fast-food workers.
“I genuinely don’t care. Why should I? I’m in the National Football League,” he said. “The person that’s commenting on my performance, what does he do? Flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere?”
Neal, after apologizing on social media Wednesday night, then apologized again Thursday.
“I’m remorseful. I definitely could’ve used a better choice of words,” Neal said, via the NFL Network. “Coming from humble beginnings myself. I never want to belittle anyone, regardless of their financial status or their occupation. So I really just want to apologize for what I said.
“I want the fans to know that I’m human, just like everyone else. If you ask anyone that’s ever been around me, they always speak highly of me. Nobody’s perfect, including myself.”
Neal was selected by the Giants with the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft. Of the 71 offensive tackles in the league this season, PFF ranked Neal’s play just 68th. He’s credited with allowing one sack through four games, but has allowed 20 pressures — which is tied for the most in the NFL.
Outside of a comeback win against the Arizona Cardinals, the Giants have been terrible offensively as a team. They have yet to score a touchdown in the first half so far this season, and they’ve been outscored by a combined 79 points in their three losses. The Seahawks rolled to an easy 24-3 win Monday night. At one point in that game, Neal actually blocked his own teammate out of the way — which left Seahawks linebacker Derick Hall free to rush quarterback Daniel Jones and force an interception.
Neal, 23, is in the second year of his initial four-year, $24.5 million deal.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley was asked about Neal on Thursday, and said he was proud of Neal for apologizing.
“The advice I would give to him and any other teammate, never pick a battle with the fans,” Barkley said, via SNY. “You’re never going to win that one. They’ve been here before us, and they’re going to be here after us. That’s the truth.”
Giants head coach Brian Daboll spoke with Neal before practice Thursday, and said the two of them were ready to put the incident behind them. Neal is expected to start Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
“I know he was very remorseful, regretful for the comment that he made,” Daboll said, via ESPN. “And we’re moving on … He was frustrated. He made a poor choice, poor decision. I’d say poor comments. He acknowledged that. And moving on.”