OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A Maryland teenager will get to live out a dream Thursday when he helps the Baltimore Ravens with their draft.
TJ Onwuanibe, 14, an eighth-grader who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, is scheduled to announce the Ravens’ first-round pick as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the team confirmed Saturday night. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who usually does that honor, will present a jersey to the team’s pick.
The Ravens informed Onwuanibe that he would play an integral role in revealing the No. 16 overall pick in the draft at a school assembly Friday. Standing on the stage at McDonogh School, Onwuanibe received the news from coach John Harbaugh in a video.
— Make-A-Wish Mid-Atl (@WishMidAtlantic) April 21, 2017
“I heard that you asked Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to send you to the NFL draft, and your wish is to announce the Ravens’ first pick,” Harbaugh said. “Well, great news. Next week, your wish will be granted in Philadelphia at the draft. How about that!”
As students cheered, the Ravens’ cheerleaders came down the aisles of the auditorium along with Poe, the team mascot.
Onwuanibe learned in February 2015 that he had a rare form of brain cancer. His cancer is now in remission.
Earlier this month, Onwuanibe organized a school drive to donate pajamas to terminally ill children, according to WBAL-TV in Baltimore. Now, Ravens fans will be waiting to hear what name he announces Thursday. If the Ravens trade out of the first round, there is a chance he could announce Baltimore’s second-round selection.
“We’re all thrilled for you,” Harbaugh said. “We’re proud to have you call out that first draft name for the Baltimore Ravens. Have a great wish, TJ. Have a great day. We love you.”
Over the years, Make-A-Wish visitors have scored a touchdown after a Ravens practice, met quarterback Joe Flacco and spent time in Baltimore’s locker room before a game.