Two members of the Eagles' defense were rewarded yesterday.

Safety Brian Dawkins, named to his seventh NFC Pro Bowl team earlier this month, added further validation to his Hawaii trip by earning NFC defensive player of the month for December.

Dawkins played a huge role in the Eagles' 4-1 finish that earned the team its seventh playoff trip in nine years, contributing three forced fumbles, a sack and an interception.

He finished the season with six forced fumbles, his highest total in that category since he had seven in 2002.

It was the second time in Dawkins' career that he was named defensive player of the month. He also won the award in December 2006, when he helped the Eagles make a similar run to the playoffs. He has also twice been named defensive player of the week.

Dawkins, with two forced fumbles and a sack in the Eagles' 44-6 rout of Dallas Sunday, was probably a candidate for NFC defensive player of the week yesterday, but that award went to teammate Chris Clemons.

The defensive end, a free-agent signing before this season, had the best game of his career with two sacks, a forced fumble and a 73-yard fumble return for his first career touchdown.

Heckert to Denver?

Eagles general manager

Tom Heckert

was mentioned as a potential candidate for a personnel job in Detroit by an NFL Network report Sunday, and a league source said yesterday that he remains a strong candidate for the job. A team source indicated Monday that Heckert had not yet heard from the Lions about the job.

The league source indicated that Heckert also could receive strong consideration for personnel jobs in Kansas City and Denver. The Chiefs are looking to replace Carl Peterson, who resigned earlier this month, and the Broncos yesterday fired head coach Mike Shanahan, who also had final say on the team's personnel decisions.

Extra points

With the Broncos' dismissal of Shanahan,

Andy Reid

is second among NFL coaches in service time as a head coach with the same team. Only Tennessee's

Jeff Fisher

has been with his team longer. Reid is also one of only two coaches - New England's

Bill Belichick

is the other - with final say on personnel moves. . . . Eagles offensive tackle

Jon Runyan

will play in his 19th playoff game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Only

Brett Favre

(22) has played in more among active NFL players. . . . Cornerback

Asante Samuel

has returned three interceptions for touchdowns in 14 career playoff games. That's tied for the most in NFL history with Hall of Fame cornerback

Willie Brown.