Quintus McDonald was born in rural North Carolina to a family of athletes. He started playing football with his older cousin in elementary school and enjoyed the physicality of the game.
McDonald played defensive end through middle and high school before transitioning to linebacker by his coach and stuck with that position throughout his career. He enjoyed a special college career where he played for two national championships at Penn State and was then selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 1989 NFL Draft.
McDonald’s time in Indiana was full of personal achievements, including winning the Ed Block Courage Award for Comeback Player of the Year and also playing all four linebacker positions in one game against the Green Bay Packers. He eventually got released by the Colts, but managed to land a contract after impressing in free agency with San Francisco in 1993. However, in 1995 while playing in an arena game to get film for Coach Parcels who was coaching in New England at the time, McDonald broke his fibula, ending his playing career.