ESPN's Erin Andrews on returning to Tampa Thursday: "It's nice to come home."
ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews politely declined a request to speak with me before returning to her Tampa hometown Thursday for a crucial matchup between the No. 21 USF Bulls and the No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats at Raymond James Stadium.
But she did speak with the sports Web site Fanhouse -- with the stipulation that the conversation be about sports and not her recent video controversy -- telling the site that she was looking forward to seeing her parents and stopping by her favorite local restaurant, La Teresita.
Her father is WFLA-Ch. 8's longtime investigative reporter Steve Andrews, who appeared with her last month when Andrews detailed the fallout from her nude video controversy on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show.
Though Andrews said then she wouldn't do any more interviews after that Oprah sitdown, she is now agreeing to talk to media about sports.
Hopefully, her change of heart was inspired by the recent arrest of Michael David Barrett, a suspect accused of surreptitiously recording videos of Andrews in the nude while she was at a hotel in Milwaukee, posting the videos online and trying to sell them to TMZ.com. CNN has reported a similar incident may have happened in Nashville.
Andrews tells Fanhouse, "I'm coming home, I'm going to see my parents, I haven't seen them in a while. I'm looking forward to seeing Mom and Dad. It's where I grew up, you know the lay of the land. I don't have any ties to USF, but it's nice to come home. I always feel like I'm a Florida girl. It will be great seeing the palm trees and eating by the water. But, mostly, just spending time with my family."
A graduate of the University of Florida who also attended Bloomingdale High School and worked as an intern at WFLA, Andrews' model-pretty looks made her a favorite of sports fans and sports-oriented Web sites even before the controversy about the illegally recorded videos hit the Internet.
But she tells Fanhouse that, despite a growing national profile, she hopes to stay in the sports reporting game a while.
"I always want to stay in sports," Andrews said. "But at some point, I have to start thinking about starting a family. That's why I'll start cutting back. I have to take my personal life into account. I can't imagine not being a part of sports in the fall. I see my future [remaining] in TV. The only change coming is to start thinking about my personal life and family. It's kind of time."