A Laurel teenager fulfilled his lifelong dream last night, announcing the Ravens’ first-round pick in this year’s draft with a smile and a fist pump.
T.J. Onwuanibe, an eighth-grader at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, received the honor through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. At age 11, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Fortunately, he’s beaten the odds thus far after several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. According to the Ravens’ website, he learned just last month that his cancer is in remission.
Evidently, Onwuanibe is a lifelong Ravens fan who knows the roster, history and stats down to a tee. In addition to enjoying watching football, he also plays it and was known for carrying a football around during his time in the hospital.
This month, the 14-year-old was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Ravens franchise. Head coach John Harbaugh announced the news in a video address to the teenager earlier this week while he was at school: He would get to take NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s place for a few minutes on draft night when his hometown team announced its number 16 pick.
Onwuanibe rose to the occasion on national TV, even punctuating it with a fist pump. The pick was Marlon Humphrey, a 6’2”, 197-pound cornerback from the University of Alabama. His two years with the school included 81 tackles, 13 defended passes and five interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
The touching moment aired on ESPN and the NFL Network. Watch it below:
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