Last Tuesday night I received a call on my cellphone from a number that I did not recognize. Luckily, I picked it up.

It was my old college friend, Travis, a fellow sports journalist who lives with his family in Shelby, N.C.

Travis called to invite me to Patriots' training camp with he and his girlfriend, Kate, who lives about 20 minutes from Gillette Stadium. We metup Friday morning -- he was late -- it's usually me who when i'm told to be somewhere at 9:15 a.m., I arrive at 9:30.

Fashionably late of course. I remember showing up to one of our Friday morning shows 20 minutes late because I missed the bus to campus from my apartment. I ran three miles with my backpack full of books and my laptop.

I came into the studio sweating profusely as Travis announced that I finally arrived.

Gasping for air, I explained my tardiness to our listeners.

On Friday, I was about to compare Travis being late to that very time, but he said it before I could. It is a moment we probably will never forget.

Last year, I went to training camp as a member of the media, this time I went as a fan.

A fan who happened to be reuniting with one of my best friends who I met as an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Travis and I ran the sports department of the campus radio station with our two-hour long Friday afternoon spot called "The Friday Sports Fix.



Okay, so it was not the most creative show name, but we more than made up for it with our witty banter about college and professional athletics. We had a field day with the whole New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that rattled the NFL two-years ago.

It was only fitting that we reunited at Patriots training camp for the first time since our graduation in 2012.

When Travis and I made our way through the throng of New England fans and even a straggler in a Green Bay Packers jersey, it was like we were back behind the campus radio station microphones again. Nothing gets by us, not even a Patriots fan with the front-half of his head skinned with a ponytail in the back.

By far, the "best" haircut of the day.

But down on the field, we were standing with an uninterrupted view of arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of the last decade, Tom Brady.

Brady fired a pass to none other than Rob Gronkowski, who galloped into the end zone to conclude the non-contact offensive drill.

Travis, Kate, her brother Spencer and I walked around the Gillette Stadium grounds, and took a peek at the light tower behind the end zone.

Travis, being a Carolina Panthers fan, (apparently they have those?) really had no reason to be at Patriots Training Camp other than to see me and well, his girlfriend brought him there ... I guess she is more important.

Then, there was Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady's supposed heir, he looked like your average rookie trying to find his groove.

Garoppolo, who already looks at home in front of the television cameras and recorder-wielding journalists.

Let's put it this way, he was nowhere near as horrendous to watch as Tim Tebow. But, let's remember, it is Garoppolo's first repetitions with the full 90-man roster. Yes, he has been through mini-camps and is learning the playbook, but his time will come this preseason. He has four games to show the coaches his true potential.

We decided to give Robert Kraft's Patriot Place mall a little visit and we happened upon this Japanese hibachi grill called "Saga." So, the four of us settled around the nice dark hardwood bar, possibly cherry, and this very personable chef emerged. He never gave us his name, but boy was he hilarious.

Soon, a couple with their two pre-teen boys settled in next to us, and that's when the chef's true sense of humor shined through. There is something about seeing a trained chef work a knife.

He produced his blade of choice from a metal holster that was strapped around his waist with a gold belt buckle. He looked like he meant business. For the sake of this column, we will refer to the chef as Mr. Yummy.

Never in my life have I heard someone use the word yummy as much as he did. Hence the nickname.

The chef dazzled the eight of us with his theatrics. He flicked a piece of cucumber square in my mouth and said "Your mouth is so big, if i missed, I should be fired." No, I was not offended. It was in jest.

I have my siblings to thank for the training leading up to my big catch at the restaurant last Friday.

More importantly, Travis got to tour Fenway Park and watch a game later during his stay. However, I was unable to go, he said he had a memorable experience.

Even though the Red Sox did not win, he was happy. After all, he is a Yankees fan, and seeing the Red Sox lose 16-1 to Toronto was a treat.

For those recent high school graduates who are heading off to college, the friends you will meet there will likely be friends for life.

Whether you go to school miles away or in your backyard, you will always find a way to connect with your college buddies.

I am sure glad he called me up to while he was in town.

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout:@EdNiser