FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Not long after coming to terms with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent, guard Chris McDonald got a call from one of his new teammates.
"He just said get ready to work hard," McDonald said Saturday. "This program is a very good program. You have to do your best and focus on yourself."
The voice on the other line was more than just a teammate, though. It was McDonald's brother, Nick, who has been with the Patriots for the past two seasons, and broke into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2010.
"It's not even just Nick, I see every single guy here," Chris said. "There's a lot of [rookie] free agents on this team that have played and I'm truly blessed to be a part of a program that has free agents and have played a lot and it just shows that you have to work hard and do whatever it takes."
Yet Chris, who was an All-Big Ten honorable mention last season at Michigan State, is one of 19 undrafted free agents who arrived in New England this week. While having Nick's guidance helps, he doesn't feel he has any advantage in trying to make the team.
"Not at all. I think every single person at this level is good," he said. "You have to think about what you can do to make yourself better and make the team better."
It's not unprecedented for brothers to pair up on an NFL offensive line. Stacy and Shawn Andrews did it for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, for example.
But what makes the McDonald brothers' story special is that they are now reunited after being adopted by separate families as teenagers.
"My brother is [an inspiration]," Chris said. "But it's on me. My brother being in the NFL is not going to help me stay in the NFL and I have to do whatever it takes for myself."