SANTA CLARA Matt Breida Jersey , Calif. (AP) — San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman won’t get as emotional about playing against Seattle this week as he did when the 49ers and Seahawks met two weeks ago.All of that, Sherman insists, is water under the bridge now.Sherman is so calm and cool this time around that he even smiled and chuckled quietly when asked about critical comments made about him by former Seahawks teammate Frank Clark following Seattle’s 21-7 win over Minnesota on Monday.Speaking to a small group of reporters, Clark said that the Sherman era was over in Seattle and that the veteran cornerback needed to worry about his own problems.“Just seems like a guy who’s probably tired of hearing the same questions,” Sherman said Thursday. “I’d probably be pretty annoyed too if we won a game and somebody comes and asks me about a guy who wasn’t either involved in this game or on my team.”Clark, a fourth-year defensive end who leads the Seahawks with 11 sacks, was responding to a question about a comment made by Sherman prior to the Nov. 2 game between the two teams in Seattle. At the time, Sherman said the Seahawks were a “middle of the road” team.Clark and other Seattle players took exception.“That’s just Richard Sherman being Richard Sherman,” Clark said Monday. “He’s not in this locker room no more so his opinion really doesn’t matter. They’ve got some problems over there in San Fran that he needs to be worried about.“This is my team now. This is my defense. Richard Sherman, his era is over here. If he’s got anything to say about our defense, he can sat it on the field, at the end of the day.”Sherman tried to downplay the issue but was asked if it was an elephant in the room.“It’s like a mouse in the room,” Sherman said. “It’s like kids say the darndest things, you know? It didn’t bother me at all.It’s kind of weird but it doesn’t bother me. The era was over in my mind obviously. I’m here.”Seattle is 8-5 and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over San Francisco on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.Sherman and the 49ers, conversely, are putting the final touches on a disappointing 3-10 season.It’s Sherman’s first year playing on a team with a losing record since his rookie season in 2011, when the Seahawks finished 7-9.Unlike the first time he lined up across from the familiar faces in Seattle, Sherman isn’t anticipating being very emotional when he sees the Seahawks on Sunday. He spent seven years in the Pacific Northwest before Seattle released him last March while Sherman was still recovering from an Achilles injury.“The nostalgia of seeing your friends and seeing the personnel, all the guys that you played with (is over),” Sherman said. “In a couple weeks, I’ll see them again. We’ll be out of the season. We’ll be doing vacations and stuff. It was cool being back in the stadium and everything. This time we’ll be back home. We’ll be grinding it out. We know how it went last time and got a sour taste in our mouth.”__ SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — No matter what happens when Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy again and steps back in as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Nick Mullens has proven there’s a place for him somewhere in the NFL.The former undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi who wasn’t even deemed worthy enough to invite to the combine in 2017 has been one of the league’s more prolific passers since getting his chance to play last month.“He’s shown he can play in this league Womens Terrell Owens Jersey ,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said. “I hope we can keep him because teams need a quarterback. This guy’s not just playing conservative football, oh man, get the ball in the right places. He’s making the right decisions, he’s making good throws under pressure. I’d say he’s playing like a top half quarterback in this league. You have guys that are out there right now that are not playing better football than Nick Mullens. He could be a starter for a lot of teams in this football league and we appreciate that we have him and he’s playing his tail off for us.”Mullens has built on his record-setting debut against Oakland on Nov. 1, when he went 16 for 22 for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 151.9 passer rating that was the highest since the merger for a player in his debut with at least 20 attempts.He took a little step back the following two games in losses to the New York Giants and Tampa Bay before starting to show noticeable improvement in the second half of a 43-16 loss at Seattle earlier this month.Mullens followed that up by leading the Niners (4-10) to wins over Denver and Seattle to provide a rare bright spot in an otherwise down season for San Francisco.“I try to get better every week,” Mullens said. “That’s definitely the goal. What you do in the past doesn’t matter. It’s all about what you do today and the next day and the future. It’s definitely a goal of mine to get better every single day. Feel more comfortable out there. Obviously, experience helps. You could say the experience helps and I feel more comfortable. I’m just enjoying playing.”Since taking over as starter, the player once considered too small and with an arm not strong enough for the NFL ranks third in the league in yards per attempt (8.6) and sixth in yards passing per game (292.3).He fared well against Seattle’s strong defense in a 26-23 overtime win on Sunday, completing 20 of 29 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown despite a couple of key drops that prevented him from having even bigger numbers.“Nick’s played very well and he’s gotten better as he’s gone,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “I thought yesterday was probably Nick’s best game, especially the way he finished it in that fourth quarter.”Mullens got his chance when C.J. Beathard was hurt heading into the Raiders game but now has put up better numbers than Garoppolo did in eight starts for San Francisco the past two years before a season-ending knee injury in Week 3.While Garoppolo will no doubt be the starter next season with his $137.5 million contract, Mullens has made his case to be the No. 2 even though Beathard was a fourth-round pick the year Mullens entered as an undrafted player.“I think I can play in the league, that’s for sure. I believe that,” Mullens said. “But, as far as the extra stuff goes, I don’t really worry too much about it.”Mullens’ teammates saw signs that he could perform on the big stage before he even got his chance. He led some late comebacks in exhibition games and had a relentless work ethic and attention to detail that he even practiced calling out plays at home with crowd noise blaring through his ear phones.He also took young receivers under his wing, making sure they knew the offense as well as he did even before he was playing.“You talk about a young kid who’s come in here, learned the offense, was on the practice squad all of last year. He’s teaching the young receivers in his class the playbook,” kicker Robbie Gould said. “He’s really a coach. The kid has such an incredible story. He finally gets his chance about a year and a half later and he’s really taken the reins. He’s a true leader. You cheer for guys like Nick Mullens.”NOTES: CB Ahkello Witherspoon will go on IR with a sprained PCL in his right knee. … S Jaquiski Tartt has a stinger and his status for this week is up in the air.