IRVING, Texas (AP) — Dallas defensive tackle Henry Melton will miss the playoffs because of a right knee injury sustained in the regular-season finale at Washington.

Melton, who missed most of last season in Chicago with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a bruised right knee.

Dallas replaced Melton by signing linebacker James Anderson, a third-round pick by Carolina in 2006. Anderson spent seven seasons with the Panthers and one in Chicago before playing in seven games with Tennessee this season.

The Cowboys (12-4) are at home against Detroit (11-5) in a wild-card game Sunday.

Melton led the Cowboys in sacks most of the season, but didn’t have one in the final seven games. He finished with five sacks, eight solo tackles and 17 quarterback pressures.

The 28-year-old Melton was slowed in his return from last year’s knee injury by a groin problem in training camp, but didn’t miss any regular-season games.

“It was rough coming back and I think one of the major factors was I had to get back into playing shape,” Melton said. “A lot of people told me about it’s going to take one step to actually feel confident in it and there’s another step where you’ve got to be able to go play and breathe and be able to run on it.”

The sixth-year pro is unlikely to return to Dallas unless he signs a new contract. He played on an incentive-laden oneyear deal with a three-year club option that guarantees him $9 million in 2015.

Baltimore Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Haloti Ngata is back on the field with the Baltimore Ravens after serving a four-game suspension for using the amphetamine Adderall.

Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, returns in time for Baltimore’s playoff game Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

The 30-year-old acknowledged Tuesday that he “made a mistake” by using a substance banned by the NFL. Ngata said he felt as if he was in retirement watching football on television during the season.

Now that he’s back, Ngata says, “I just feel like I owe these guys.”

He joked that his teammates are yelling “Fresh legs!” in his direction.

After a light practice Tuesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was convinced that Ngata is game-ready.

The coach said, “He looks good and I’m sure he is.”

Chicago Bears

CHICAGO (AP) — At least three potential candidates for the Chicago Bears’ GM job have emerged.

Longtime former NFL scout John Wooten told The Associated Press he recommended Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross, and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson to team consultant Ernie Accorsi.

He said he spoke Monday night with Accorsi. Wooten is the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which promotes the hiring of minorities in the NFL.

He said one of the three candidates he recommended “has a great chance to get the job.”

The Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman following a 5-11 season on Monday.

Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Thomas Davis remembers the sinking feeling in his stomach the previous time the Carolina Panthers hosted a playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Panthers’ 10-year veteran linebacker shook his head Tuesday and said, “It’s something I don’t want to relive.”

Nor do Panthers fans.

Six seasons ago the Cardinals, a 10-point underdog and a team that had shown little ability to win a game east of the Mississippi River, clobbered the NFC South champion Panthers 33-13, forcing six Jake Delhomme turnovers.

The win not only ended Carolina’s bid to reach the Super Bowl, but also sent the Panthers organization into a spiral.

On Saturday, the Panthers (7-8-1) look to get even when they host the Cardinals (11-5) in a wild-card game.