Adopted brothers reunite as Patriots teammates

You’ll often hear players use cliches to describe their teammates as “family” or the roster being a “band of brothers.”

In the case of Chris and Nick McDonald, it’s not just a hackneyed saying.

Shortly after the draft, guard Chris McDonald signed with the Patriots, joining his brother, Nick, a guard who’s been with New England for the past two seasons.

Both broke into the league as undrafted free agents. Both play the same position on the same team. Both are fulfilling their NFL dreams.

But there’s a fascinating twist to the McDonald brothers’ story: They’re reuniting after being adopted by separate families during their teenage years.

“My brother is [an inspiration],” Chris said, via “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.”

Chris, a Michigan State alum and All-Big Ten honorable mention last year, was among the 19 free agents picked up by the Pats. He considers it an honor just to be a part of the program.

“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.”

While Chris and Nick McDonald aren’t locks to survive training camp cuts — let alone make the final roster — it wouldn’t be the first time brothers successfully teamed up. In 2009, Stacy and Shawn Andrews started alongside each other on the Eagles’ offensive line, becoming a formidable duo.

And if the McDonald’s experience the same result, it’d be a remarkably fitting chapter in their Hollywood-like story.

(Photo credit: AP/Evan Vucci)

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (

    “The Patriot Way” is manifesting. I know the Krafts. (hs classmate w/1) Their devotion to FAMILY (the Patriot Way) is a neat-lititle-publicity gimmick, yes. But it’s also an ethic (see Tedy Bruschi) that creates allegiance. And that attitude/WAY wins championships. (similar to a “band of brothers” – literal, in McDonalds’ case)


    My memories of “The Patriot Way” are just a bit divergent from many. That includes having assorted alcoholic beverages and 4 letter insults poured on you when you were the opponent’s jersey in Gillette or Sullivan Stadiums!


    I KNOW THE MCDONALDS. This article makes it sound like they were long lost. Both brothers are very close and always together when time allows. Nice kids, I suppose but coming from a city that feels like a small town, fame is starting to get into their heads.