Keeler: Broncos QB Russell Wilson sure talks a legendary game. So when will he start playing one?

One’s a born fibber, the other’s deluded. Sean Payton and Russell Wilson deserve each other, don’t they? Two tail ends of a pantomime horse, bound by Walmart money, galloping in opposite directions until the seams split.

Alas, the laws of physics decree that two planets of that much ego, spinning their narratives like a Cal Quantrill splitter, can’t survive in the same space for long.

We’re down to the final few weeks now, in all likelihood, as Payton, the Broncos’ coach, secretly cwosses days off the calendar the way Elmer Fudd did just before Wabbit Season.

The lawyers drew up divorce papers months ago. This public stuff is just pretext to get out in front of the inevitable.

Although if Big Russ played as well as he postures, we wouldn’t be wringing our knuckles about the best way to eat $85 million in dead cap money.

Now let’s be clear on two things, right out of the chute: First, the Broncos completely and hilariously botched RussGate. Second, Jarrett Stidham is not a QB1 for a franchise that’s serious about anything but saving a buck.

All that being said, forgive me, Russ. Don’t feel it. Not a wisp of sympathy. There are no “good guys” and “bad guys” here. In the case of Broncos v. Wilson, everybody stinks.

Payton has all the tact of a truncheon. Denial is a river that runs fast between the ears of Big Russ, who keeps looking into the mirror and seeing Drew Brees staring back. If Wilson’s a $40 million QB, I’m William Faulkner.

“I got that call, ‘Hey, we’re going to bench you for the next nine games if you don’t change your injury guarantee.’ … I didn’t want to set a precedent for players with injury guarantees. There was no way I was going to do that,’” Wilson recalled to former Bronco Brandon Marshall during the most recent drop of Marshall’s “I Am Athlete” podcast. “I told them I wasn’t going to do it, no shot.”

Now If Wilson truly wanted to stick around the Front Range, as he intimated to Marshall, he wouldn’t have thrown the Broncos under the bus again in front of a microphone. No shot.

Big Russ is a Jedi master at dissembling. He owns a black belt in deflection. If No. 3 wants to change the subject from, say, Nathaniel Hackett to the menu at Culver’s, the scribes will have to spend the next 12 minutes listening to Wilson’s inner-most thoughts on frozen custard, whether we want to or not.

Yet there was Russ, once again, aggressive-passively slapping the victim card on top of a friendly table. It’s not me. It’s them. It was always them.

Which, on one hand, is at least partially true. On the other, the next target Wilson hits over the middle of the field will be his first in three years. No. 3 has in two seasons posted fewer wins as a Broncos QB1 (11) than he reportedly has bathrooms (12) in his home. In real estate terms, that’s the sort of underwater that typically gets you run outta Dodge.

Wilson stressed to Marshall that he wants the “chill” of that Lombardi Trophy in his hands at least two more times. And yet his current contract also makes it harder for the Broncos to spend for title-chasing upgrades around him.

A decade ago, no less than Tom Brady moved his money around in a way that gave the Patriots flexibility to keep their dynasty chugging forward. Russ? Russ didn’t want to (makes air quotes) “set a precedent.”

And yes, the Broncos were silly enough to sign off on that injury guarantee in the first place, one of several paragraphs of Wilson’s contract extension that should burn your eyes. But titles take two to tango, Russ.

“I’ve got more fire now than ever, honestly,” Wilson told Marshall. “Especially over the past two years, what I’ve gone through. … I hope it’s in Denver. I hope I get to finish there. I committed there. I wanted to be there. For me, it’s about winning. … I love the city and everything else, but you also want to be in a place that wants you, too.”

Payton’s Baby Bill Parcells act isn’t programmed for that kind of affection, and it’s the only tune he can reliably sing by heart. When paired with a sensitive, sunny, mercurial personality such as Wilson’s, this was always going to go one of two ways.

So the pantomime horses are stuck covering their own backsides, picking their platforms and sticking to the script. No. 3 wants to look like late-stage, Giants-era Kurt Warner, a legend in a tough spot, just waiting for that right second act.

Hey, if old-man Joe Flacco could do it, dropping back with a pair of cement shoes, it stands to reason that Big Russ could, too, someday. But the only way Wilson wins two titles in the next five years is if he’s backing up Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow.

Payton’s leaving the door open a crack for performative, strategic and legal purposes. Also, so he looks less like a butt-head to the next quarterback drafted into his care.

What a couple. The most delicious ironies of the orange and blue annulment are the parallels, most notably the degree to which Wilson and Payton both lean on their respective pasts. How both brag about titles that, in hindsight, may have had more to do with the brilliance of Brees and The Legion of Boom, respectively, than with the men flaunting their rings in Denver.

Dove Valley ain’t big enough for that much ego. And Broncos Country, with a passion that stretches a mile high, passed down the mountain from one generation to the next, can smell a phony from 100 yards away.

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