How did I spend the 50th birthday of Ron Darling, Morten Andersen and my best friend Ira Thursday?

Well, I spent part of it having lunch with Tiki Barber at Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza on First Avenue near 71st street, where he gave his first print interview since the problems in his private life became very public in April.

Here is the main article, in which he discusses where he goes from here professionally and personally.

Here is a sidebar in which he offers a somewhat grim take on the 2010 Giants.

Barber seemed upbeat and matter-of-fact about the challenges he faces, pretty much the same guy I have known since 1997.

His girlfriend, Traci Lynn Johnson, did not join us for lunch but she was in the restaurant, seated elsewhere, and said hello.

I went into our conversation intending to avoid getting dragged into the he said/she said details of the circumstances leading to Barber's pending divorce from his wife, Ginny.

After hearing more of them from both sides, I left out even more of it than I had intended.

All I can do is wish both of them well as they focus on the most important matter at hand: caring for the four children they had together.

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