Sal Alosi tripped up when he told the New York Jets his side of the story. Now, the embattled assistant coach could be looking to save his job.

Alosi, the Jets' strength and conditioning coach, was suspended indefinitely by the team yesterday after he acknowledged that he told five inactive players to stand next to each other for a punt return, during which he tripped a Miami Dolphins player.

"As we continued our investigation, we discovered some new information," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a conference call from the NFL owners meetings in Dallas, "and the players at the Miami game were instructed by Sal to stand where they were to force the gunner in the game to run around them."

That was information Alosi did not initially volunteer Monday, according to Tannenbaum. The team suspended Alosi for the season without pay and fined him an additional $25,000 after he stuck out a knee and tripped Miami's Nolan Carroll, who was covering the punt during the Dolphins' 10-6 win Sunday.

"Over the course of the next couple of days, more information came out that really doesn't sit well with us," Tannenbaum said.

However, tight end Jeff Cumberland, who was inactive Sunday, said it was nothing new for the players to line up next to each other as they did against the Dolphins.

"Since the beginning of the year, we've been instructed to line up behind the [white] line," he said, adding that it was only Alosi who has told them to do so.

Coach Rex Ryan and special- teams coordinator Mike Westhoff have denied they ordered anyone to do what Alosi told the players. Westhoff, however, added that other teams may use the wall, and singled out New England as one that has.

Tannenbaum did not rule out the possibility that Alosi will be fired.

In other Jets news, safety Eric Smith will miss the Jets' game at Pittsburgh on Sunday while recovering from a concussion. Also, right tackle Damien Woody underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and could miss the rest of the regular season.

Noteworthy

* Dozens of workers attacked the snowdrifts covering the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium in a determined push to have it ready to replace the snow-damaged Metrodome for next week's matchup between the Vikings and Chicago Bears.

NFL officials toured TCF Bank Stadium to make sure it was safe for fans and meets other league requirements. The two biggest concerns, according to assistant university athletic director Scott Ellison, were whether all the snow can be removed in time and whether the frozen field could be softened to a level that won't hurt the players.

"I'm completely confident we can have a game here Monday night," Ellison said.

* Commissioner Roger Goodell is close to announcing whether the NFL will punish Brett Favre for sending inappropriate photos and phone messages to a former Jets game hostess. Asked if the decision would come by the end of the season, he said, "I expect that, yes."

* Houston defensive end Mario Williams has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Coach Gary Kubiak said Williams will have surgery to repair a sports hernia on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

* Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was back on the practice field yesterday, but whether he will start Sunday against St. Louis remained uncertain.

* Indianapolis receiver Austin Collie made it through a full practice, raising hopes he'll play Sunday against Jacksonville. Collie was hurt Nov. 7 against the Eagles.

* Dallas placed receiver and kick returner Kevin Ogletree on season-ending injured reserve with a toe injury.

* Jacksonville defensive back Will Middleton has been fined $5,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell.

* Tennessee placed defensive tackle Tony Brown on injured reserve because of a knee injury and replaced him on the roster by signing center Kevin Matthews off the practice squad. Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews.