Shakir Soto is back in football.
The GAR grad signed with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday, joining the team’s practice squad.
“It’s great. I had to be really disciplined in my workouts — staying ready — just waiting for my next opportunity to come,” Soto said Wednesday night over the phone. “It’s a nice feeling to have this opportunity with the Raiders.
“I got the call and I was very excited.”
Oakland had an open spot on its practice squad after promoting center James Stone to the active roster earlier in the day. Stone provides the Raiders some insurance after Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson played this past weekend with a kidney stone, according to ESPN staff writer Paul Gutierrez.
Soto signed with the Denver Broncos as a priority free agent after the NFL Draft this past spring. He went on to finish fourth on the team in tackles (12) during the preseason before being one of Denver’s final cuts before the start of the regular season.
The Pitt alum has used his time away from the game wisely, training in Orlando, Fla., at ESPN Wide World of Sports with famed strength and conditioning coach Tom Shaw.
“Just staying focused,” Soto said. “I got the call and I was very excited.”
Soto has put himself in a special position with the Raiders.
If he does well over the final two weeks of the regular season, he could play himself onto the Raiders’ offseason roster for offseason workouts, mini-camps and organized team activities, which could lead to a spot at training camp.
“Until December 31, which is the last game, definitely have to go out there and keep grinding and give them a reason to keep me on the team for next season,” Soto said. “I have to go out there and control what I can control. As long as I do that I should put myself in a good position.”