"We buried the hatchet a while ago. That's my guy, my brother," Collins said via a conference call on Monday. "We know what we got to do. Make this season go."
New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said a "clean slate" exists for Apple, who followed up a promising rookie season in 2016 with a tough campaign the following year. The 22-year-old Apple was inactive for a four-game stretch in 2017 and was suspended for the Giants' season finale against the Washington Redskins for violating team policy.
Apple also engaged in Twitter spats with fans, with wideout Odell Beckham Jr. attempting to serve as the voice of reason on one occasion.
While Collins' comment on Monday was positive toward Apple, his words during an interview with ESPN Radio in December were hardly supportive of his teammate.
"There's one corner that has to establish [himself] and needs to grow, and we all know who that is," Collins said, clearly alluding to Apple. "That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides the other two guys -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins -- I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. But, that first pick ... he's a cancer."
Collins took to Twitter the following day to apologize to Apple, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"I met with Coach [Steve Spagnuolo] and Eli [Apple] this morning and I apologized for the things I said yesterday," Collins wrote. "I never stop supporting my brother/teammate Eli and the rest of my teammates as we move forward. Just want him to know I'm always here."
Collins collected 104 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 2017.
Apple had 49 tackles and two fumble recoveries last season.