OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — T.J. Owuanibe got his wish: The 14-year-old shared center stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to announce the Baltimore Ravens’ top draft pick.
The eighth grader at McDonogh School in Baltimore was diagnosed two years ago with brain cancer. He recently told Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic that he longed to join Goodell at the podium in Philadelphia when the Ravens — his favorite team — made their first-round selection.
And so, when Baltimore decided Thursday night to take Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the 16th overall pick, Owuanibe jumped into action to help complete the process.
Wearing a grey suit, a bowtie, a light blue shirt and a very serious expression, Owuanibe nervously stood next to Goodell, who shared the youth’s background with a national audience.
Owuanibe stood stoically until Goodell said, “He loves the Ravens.”
And then the boy finally smiled.
An instant after that, Goodell stepped aside and let Owuanibe move behind the microphone — which was too high. After Goodell made a quick adjustment to the microphone, Owuanibe pumped his fist and told football fans around the world who the Ravens picked at No. 16.
Owuanibe loved the Ravens long before he was diagnosed with cancer. In recent years, the teenager met with the coaching staff and several players at training camp through another nonprofit organization, the Casey Cares Foundation.
Thus, when his wish was presented to the Ravens front office, the team happily complied. Coach John Harbaugh informed T.J. that his wish has been granted.
T.J.’s cancer is now in remission.