LB Vic So’oto returns to Packers and is excited for ‘opportunity’
By Jason Wilde, ESPN Wisconsin
~All things considered, Vic So’oto would have preferred to have never left. Nevertheless, the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker was just happy to be back in the fold Monday, and returned a little wiser in the ways of the NFL as a business.
“This has all been an educational experience,” So’oto said after filling the spot on the Packers’ 53-man roster created when right tackle Bryan Bulaga was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a hip injury. “Understanding you’re only as good as your last play and you’re only as good as what you put on film.”
So’oto, who made the team as an undrafted free agent from BYU last year and was one of the best storylines of the 2011 training camp, was one of coach Kevin Greene’s star pupils as a rookie, seeing action in seven games (one sack, seven tackles). But So’oto wasn’t able to replicate that magic this summer.
While a new undrafted free agent OLB – Dezman Moses – stole the show, So’oto was on the roster bubble entering the last preseason game, in which he suffered an ankle injury. He was placed on injured reserve at the final roster reduction, then released with an injury settlement Sept. 25.
“I don’t know what (the Packers’) intentions were (with IR), I just know when I signed the injury settlement, they said, ‘You know, we can get you back at some point,’” So’oto said. “So that was what I was always shooting for, and here I am.”
And not a moment too soon. With first-round pick Nick Perry on season-ending IR following wrist surgery and star Clay Matthews sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 4 against Arizona, the Packers were thin at outside linebacker. Only Erik Walden, Moses and Frank Zombo were available at the position before So’oto arrived midway through Monday’s practice.
“It’s good to have him back,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “It looked like he’s in good shape. Anytime you have one of your guys leave and still have the opportunity to come back, it’s great to see him. He’s a good fit for us. He knows how we operate. It’ll be a seamless transition for him and he definitely gives us depth at the outside linebacker position, which in my opinion you never have enough of those guys.”
So’oto spent four games with the Oakland Raiders – Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was with the Packers when they signed So’oto – before being released Nov. 6. So’oto said “a series of teams” called after his release, including the Packers, who were the obvious choice.
“Knowing the defense and coming in ahead of the curve, it’s a good thing to be back here,” So’oto said. “Again, it’s an opportunity. There’s a lot of guys out there on the street right now. I’m just one of the lucky ones to have played well enough to get some opportunities other places and play well enough to get another opportunity here. I’m just excited to be with KG again and with Clay and all the boys and get after it.”
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