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Nick McDonald all of a sudden the center of attention

12.03.11 at 3:58 pm ET
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Nick McDonald is in line to be activated for insurance for the Patriots Sunday (Mike Petraglia, WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Nick McDonald has overcome a lot in his life.

His mother died of cancer when he was just 14. He starred at Grand Valley State University and was signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent following the 2010 NFL Draft. He did spend the season with the eventual Super Bowl XLV champions before getting waived in September and picked up by the Patriots.

He was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 4 and then released 11 days later. He eventually was signed back to the practice squad one day later.

Now, because starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is out with a foot injury and centers Dan Connolly (groin) and Ryan Wendell (calf) are questionable, McDonald will likely be active and on the sidelines Sunday ready to provide insurance. He very well could make his NFL debut against the Colts.

“You have to prepare like that every single week,” McDonald said on Friday, when surrounded by a media crowd that anticipated his promotion. “Every practice squad guy gets reps and we all have to know exactly what the starters are doing, because you never know when your number is going to be called and when you’ll be called up.”

So, if either Connolly or Wendell or both can’t go Sunday, it appears the 24-year-old McDonald will get a chance. To that end, he’s been taking snaps in practice.

But what about getting accustomed to Tom Brady in practice?

“You have to know exactly what Tom wants,” McDonald said. “First and foremost, it’s got to be the snap, you have to be on the same page. You just have to work at it.”

McDonald, at 6-feet-4 and 305 pounds, can play all three interior line spots, both guard positions and center, something that appealed to Bill Belichick.

“You have to know everything. As a younger guy, I have to know all inside positions. I’m comfortable with all of them. It’s really not that big a of a difference. The biggest difference is snapping the ball. You can’t have a play without snapping the ball.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots
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