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Make-A-Wish Teenager Will Announce Ravens' First-Round Pick


T.J. Onwuanibe will get his wish.

The Ravens-obsessed 14-year-old brain cancer survivor will announce Baltimore's first-round pick during Thursday night's NFL Draft in Philadelphia.

First-round picks are usually announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Onwuanibe will take his job – at least for a minute. Goodell will now just give the Ravens' draft pick his jersey.

Onwuanibe came up with his wish request with his mother, Chioma. At first, they thought of attending a Ravens game or meeting Ray Lewis. But after the Ravens missed the playoffs last year, T.J. Onwuanibe started thinking a lot about who the team should draft.

Now, he will be the first to find out. The Ravens currently hold pick No. 16, and Onwuanibe thinks it will be a cornerback or wide receiver.

"I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have the commissioner's job for a pick and be there?" Onwuanibe said. "It sounded like a great idea, so why not?"

Onwuanibe found out the plan Friday during a special assembly at McDonogh School, where he is in eighth grade. Head Coach John Harbaugh taped a video to announce the news, and Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe joined Onwuanibe on stage.

"When I first heard it, everything was getting shaky," Onwuanibe said. "I was like, 'OK, this must be a dream.'"

Onwuanibe was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer on Feb. 16, 2015 when he was 11 years old. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and got the best news of all about a month ago. His cancer is in remission.

Football and his love of the Ravens helped Onwuanibe with the fight. His mom said that all of the nurses at the hospital knew that the best way to engage her son was to talk about the Ravens. Onwuanibe carried a football around with him all the time, and knows the Ravens' history and statistics by heart.

With the help of Casey Cares, Onwuanibe also attended a day of Ravens training camp last season, where he met his favorite current player (linebacker C.J. Mosley), kicker Justin Tucker and others.

"He is the ultimate Ravens fan," Chioma said. "He lives and dreams Ravens."

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