David Zalubowski, Associated Press
Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan looks on during a game against Colorado in the fourth quarter of Colorado's 65-51 victory in Boulder on Friday.
Callahan fired after 5-7 season

LINCOLN, Neb. — Under coach Tom Osborne, Nebraska was one of the bullies of college football, a program to be feared.

Under coach Bill Callahan, the Cornhuskers were too often the ones getting pushed around.

After watching Callahan's Huskers for five games, Osborne, in his new role as interim athletic director, decided it was time for change.

He fired Callahan during a five-minute meeting Saturday.

"We used to be a team people hated to play," Osborne said during a news conference, "because they felt it for two or three weeks."

Callahan left the football complex without speaking to reporters.

The move was expected after the Huskers finished 5-7 with Friday's 65-51 loss at Colorado, a game in which they squandered an 11-point halftime lead by allowing 34 consecutive points.

Callahan had said after the game he enjoyed his time at Nebraska. "I have no regrets," he said.

Osborne said he had told Callahan in late October that the coach would lose his job if he didn't have a winning record this season. The Huskers kept losing, and losing big, with five defeats by at least 18 points. That included a 76-39 embarrassment at Kansas, the most points ever allowed by Nebraska.

"You have to play with intensity. These coaches tried very hard to have that happen. Yet sometimes you didn't see the effort and intensity you like to see in a football game," Osborne said.

LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and Buffalo coach Turner Gill are the names mentioned to replace Callahan.


RODMAN SUED: LAS VEGAS — A former beverage manager at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas has sued Dennis Rodman, claiming the former NBA star assaulted her in March 2006 by rubbing up against her body and slapping her on the buttocks.

In her federal lawsuit filed this week, Sara Robinson also accused her former employer of retaliating against her after she complained about Rodman's behavior.

Rodman spokeswoman Shannon Barr declined to comment Saturday.

In her complaint, Robinson said she was working in the resort's Cuba Libre bar when Rodman, a hotel guest, began "making a scene" by trying to climb atop the bar after failing to gain her full attention.

"As Robinson stepped around the bar, Rodman grabbed her, pulled her towards him and rubbed his body against hers," the lawsuit alleges. "Robinson tried to get free from Rodman's grasp at which time he assaulted her by reaching down and slapping her open-handed on the bottom."

The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, claims Robinson was fired after she filled out a voluntary statement detailing Rodman's actions in a subsequent incident at the same bar the next month.

The document accuses Rodman of assault and battery and the Hard Rock Hotel of negligence by failing to protect her from Rodman's "harassing conduct," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.


ARSLAN WINS WBA BELT: Firat Arslan took away Virgil Hill's WBA cruiserweight title Saturday, battering the 43-year-old American with lefts in a unanimous decision.

The Turkish-born German's left hooks staggered Hill (50-7 with 23 knockouts) in the ninth and 10th rounds, and he went on to receive winning scores of 118-110, 116-113 and 117-111.

Arslan ended Hill's two-decade run as a world champion.


POPE HOSPITALIZED: Miami Dolphins linebacker Derrick Pope missed practice Saturday after being hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said the team was "gathering information" but he did not know why Pope was in the hospital. The Dolphins did not immediately disclose the name of the hospital.

"Obviously, Derrick is somebody we care a lot about and I'll find out more, but I don't want to speculate as to what the situation is and we'll update you once we get more information," Cameron said at the news conference Saturday.

Pope's status for Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was unclear. He has started at outside linebacker for the past five games.

If Pope cannot start, he most likely will be replaced by Donnie Spragan, Cameron said.

TESTAVERDE QUESTIONABLE: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde was listed as questionable for the Panthers' game Sunday against the Saints after he showed up for practice Saturday with a stiff back.

If Testaverde can't play, David Carr would likely start against New Orleans (4-6) four days after coach John Fox had said the 44-year-old Testaverde gave Carolina (4-6) a better chance to win.

Testaverde had appeared to have recovered from a strained right Achilles tendon that forced him to miss a game and leave another at halftime. Testaverde had started the previous two games and had practiced all week.

A team official said Testaverde was not injured at practice on Friday, but awoke Saturday with back pain.

Fox said Wednesday that Testaverde would start ahead of Carr, who has recovered from two concussions and a back injury.

Carr, signed to a two-year, $6 million deal in the offseason, has struggled to find receivers downfield and has been sacked 12 times. He's thrown three touchdown passes and three interceptions, and has left two games with injuries.

Carr had replaced Jake Delhomme, who was lost to a season-ending right elbow injury in Week 3. Undrafted rookie Matt Moore has also played briefly in four games.

McNABB OUT: Quarterback Donovan McNabb will miss the Eagles' game Sunday against New England because of a sprained ankle and injured thumb.

McNabb hurt the thumb on his throwing hand early against Miami last Sunday and left after injuring his ankle in the second quarter. He has not practiced all week. A.J. Feeley, who led the Eagles to a pair of touchdowns in a 17-7 win over the Dolphins, gets the start for underdog Philadelphia.