IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG for the rumors to start: Allen Iverson wants to leave Turkey . . . He has been criticized for his play . . . He is unhappy with the chemistry between the club and the fans . . . Stop us if you've heard this before.

Yesterday, "The Answer" tried to squelch the rumors with Twitter comments.

"I am very happy here in Istanbul," he tweeted. "My family and I are making this our home. For those of you who really care about me just know this, I am very pleased and enjoying this ride."

The former Sixers star signed a 2-year, $4 million deal with Besiktas after receiving no NBA offers.

After five games, he's averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 assists.

Marino, Elway talking football

Daily News "Dan About Town" columnist Dan Gross threw a sports bone our way in reporting that Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino and John Elway will speak Jan. 19 at the Wells Fargo Center at a football fan forum called "Inside the Game." Broadcaster Joe Buck, who Philly fans tend to think is always against our teams, and Peter King also will speak at the event. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday through, by phone 800-298-4200 or at the center's box office. For more info, visit

Big Ben a hard-nosed player

Did you see the broken nose Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered after being hit in the face by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata Sunday night? His nose was so bent it looked like a capital C.

No penalty was called on the play even though Big Ben said he told an official what had happened, and Ngata was fined $15,000. "I said to [referee Terry McAulay], 'He hit me in the head.' Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh PostGazette. "He said, 'He was just trying to tackle you.' "

We've watched the replay several times. McAulay was wrong. On a positive note, Roethlisberger, who remained in the game, probably forgot all about his broken foot.

- Tom Mahon

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