Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has come to the aid of his embattled fellow quarterback, Donovan McNabb.

The Eagles QB has caused a wave of hilarity nationwide for confessing that he did not know NFL games could end in a tie after the Birds struggled to a 13-13 standoff in Cincinnati. (Some of his teammates said the same thing.)

Roethlisberger, one of Pittsburgh's offensive captains, estimated yesterday that half the league's players didn't know.

The Steelers' Hines Ward, a former Super Bowl MVP and an 11-season veteran, acknowledged he was among them - and he played in a tie six years ago.

"I think people are making too big a deal and are being too hard on Donovan, because you'd be surprised - I bet at least 50 percent of the league didn't know that at the time," Roethlisberger said.

"You'd be real surprised. I think people just assume that the quarterback should know it all and that everyone should know that stuff, and it's not necessarily true, because who ever thinks about that stuff?"

The Steelers play the Bengals tomorrow night.

"How often does it come up?" Roethlisberger said. "The rules change so often that you never know what happens. People are being way, way too hard on Donovan and making way too big a deal of this."

Cowboys. The lawyer for Adam "Pacman" Jones told ESPN.com the suspended cornerback has completed the requirements for alcohol counseling mandated by the NFL.

Worrick Robinson also said Jones has returned to Dallas from an undisclosed treatment facility and is awaiting a ruling from commissioner Roger Goodell on a possible reinstatement.

Jones' latest violation of the league's personal-conduct policy stemmed from an alcohol-related scuffle Oct. 7 with one of his bodyguards at a private party in Dallas.

ESPN.com said that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is willing to take Adam Jones back on the team if he is reinstated, but is somewhat pessimistic because of the anger Goodell expressed to the team when the player was suspended last month.

49ers. San Francisco placed right tackle Jonas Jennings on injured reserve for the third time in his four seasons with the team. Jennings underwent surgery on his dislocated right shoulder.

Browns. Cleveland said tight end Kellen Winslow would have an MRI on his right shoulder after suffering an unspecified injury in the closing minutes of Monday night's win over the Buffalo Bills.

Vikings. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie has a trial date in Miami on March 16, when he will face four charges stemming from his alleged involvement in a fight outside a nightclub in February.

McKinnie's attorney, Larry Kerr, appeared in Miami-Dade County Court yesterday. McKinnie, a graduate of Woodbury High in Gloucester County, was not required to appear.