Former Penn State and NFL offensive lineman Todd Burger was among five men arrested over the weekend in a bust of an alleged Internet gambling operation in Somerville, N.J.

Burger, 37, of Freehold, allegedly collected gambling debts for suspect Anthony "Cheese" Pecoraro, 34, of Colts Neck, N.J.

Burger started all 16 games and both postseason games for the New York Jets in 1998. He played for the Chicago Bears from 1993 to '97, starting a total of 24 games. He was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent.

According to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office and New Jersey State Police, who conducted a 4-month joint investigation, the operation used the Web site to process illegal wagers. Players used code names and Pecoraro set gambling limits, settled disputes and controlled the paying off and collecting of bets.

In addition to Burger and Pecoraro, authorities arrested Stephen Barone, 44, of Jackson, N.J.; Daniel Alaimo, 51, of Metuchen, N.J.; and Peter Carfaro, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Authorities seized about $70,000 in cash from the suspects in addition to computers and a .357 Magnum handgun.

A message left at a number listed for Burger was not returned yesterday, and it was not immediately known whether he had retained an attorney.


* Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams was suspended without pay for one game by the NFL after his third illegal horse-collar tackle of the season. Williams, whose use of the tactic led to the league passing a rule making it a 15-yard penalty, did it against Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in Sunday's 10-6 loss. He will miss Saturday night's game at Carolina, which will cost him $37,187 - one game's salary.

Quarterback Tony Romo's is expected to play Saturday, although his injured right thumb remained swollen. X-rays taken Sunday were negative.

* Washington starting weakside linebacker Rocky McIntosh is out for the season - and possibly all of next season - with torn ligaments in his left knee. Both the ACL and MCL were torn.

Also, coach Joe Gibbs, whose 5-year contract expires after next season, said he expects to discuss the possibility of a contract extension with owner Dan Snyder after this season.

* Ticketmaster plans to launch a Web site next year where people can resell tickets to NFL games, the latest push by the company into the lucrative secondary-ticket market.

The company signed a multiyear deal with the NFL that includes branding and promotion for the site, Ticketmaster announced in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ticketmaster, based in West Hollywood, Calif., already operates separate, so-called ticket-exchange sites for 18 NFL teams, which allow ticketholders to resell their game tickets online.

The latest deal moves those teams and adds four others to the new portal set for debut sometime next year, said Ticketmaster, which is owned by New York-based Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Resales are a growing slice of the ticket market for sporting events, concerts and other events, but Ticketmaster lags behind other online ticket resale outlets such as StubHub, which is owned by eBay Inc., and auction sites such as eBay itself.

Ticketmaster plans to guarantee the resold tickets, which are sent to buyers electronically, just like it does with its regular primary ticket sales.

The company is counting on that security feature and the NFL branding to woo prospective ticket buyers and sellers.

The company profits on the secondary sales by charging the seller and the buyer a percentage of the resale price.

* Miami linebacker Channing Crowder will have his left knee scoped today and could miss the rest of the season.

* Tennessee rookie running back Chris Henry returned to the Titans after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

* The Buffalo Bills were forced to bus home yesterday after their charter plane got stuck in mud off a runway in Cleveland. The travel problems came after an unscheduled overnight stay due to a blizzard to contributed to Sunday's loss to the Browns that ended the Bills' playoff chances.

"It seems like when it rains it pours. But in this case it's snow," defensive end Chris Kelsay said. *