Following his brother's path to Pats?

Following his brother's path to Pats?
May 4, 2013, 2:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- The blonde hair, beard and 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame all give it away. Chris McDonald is the spitting image of his brother, Patriots offensive lineman Nick McDonald.

Though he already has a connection inside the Patriots locker room, Chris, an undrafted free agent offensive lineman out of Michigan State, says his family ties in the Patriots organization don't give him a leg up on any of his new teammates participating in rookie minicamp this weekend.

"Not at all," he said. "When you make it to this level, everyone's good. You have to think about what you can do to make yourself better and make the team better, and that's what I'm looking at as of right now."

The McDonald brothers spoke soon after Chris signed with New England. Both were psyched that Chris, 23, would have a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. But Nick, 25, had some advice for his younger brother.

"Get ready to work hard," Nick told him. "This program is a very good program, you gotta do your best and focus on yourself."

Like Chris, Nick was also an undrafted free agent out of college. He signed with the Packers out of Grand Valley State in 2010, was waived, and signed with the Patriots practice squad in 2011. He was brought onto the active roster in December of that year and since then has played in 16 games, starting three. He is perhaps New England's most versatile offensive lineman, with an ability to play each of the five positions on the line.

Chris has seen his brother go from undrafted to having a spot carved out for himself on the Patriots. Now he hopes to do the same.

"You have to work hard at it," Chris said. "And it's not even just Nick. I see every single guy here, there's a lot of (undrafted) free agents on this team that have played and I'm truly blessed to be part of a program that has free agents that have played a lot. It just shows that you have to work hard and do whatever it takes."

At the same time, Chris knows he's not guaranteed anything because his brother made it.

"It's on me," he said. "My brother being in the NFL is not gonna help me stay in the NFL and I have to do whatever it takes for myself."