“Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.“
Thirteen years ago, Minka Kelly‘s life changed forever when she was cast as cheerleader Lyla Garrity in Friday Night Lights.
In memory of that milestone moment, the actress posted a touching tribute about the show to Instagram on Friday, when she admitted that at the time she was cast, she didn’t think the Peter Berg-created drama “about a player who breaks his neck in the pilot episode is going anywhere.”
“I was living out of a suitcase in my girlfriends apartment when I got the call that I’d be moving to Austin,” explained Kelly. “I called the surgery center where I worked as a scrub nurse and told them I’d be leaving for some football show in Texas but I’ll see you guys again as soon as I’m back.”
Although the show went on for five seasons (2006 to 2011) and won multiple Emmy Awards, Kelly wasn’t initially certain it would get picked up based on the pilot episode.
“There was no way a show about football – that was already a movie – about a player who breaks his neck in the pilot episode is going anywhere,” she wrote. “But a job is a job amirite!”
While the series is centered on a football coach (Chandler, 54), his family and his players in a small Texas town, Kelly admitted that the show was much more than that.
“But it wasn’t about football,” she wrote. “It was about relationships, family, humanity, love and loss. It was about longing to fit in and wanting to get out. It was about life in a small town and how a community comes together in good times and bad.”
“Little did I know I hit the proverbial jackpot and the show would go on for 5 years,” she continued. “I’m forever grateful.”
Closing out the post, Kelly concluded with the Friday Night Lights slogan: “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose. Texas Forever. 🤘🏼.”
After sharing the slideshow of images, multiple stars commented on Kelly’s tribute.
“Loved you then… love you now✨✨✨✨,” wrote Andie MacDowell.
Model Brooklyn Decker commented, “Austin loves ya forever 👏👏.”
And Jenna Dewan revealed that she first met Kelly at the audition for the show, writing, “I remember meeting you at that audition 😍.”
Since the show’s end in 2011, Kelly starred in the teen horror flick The Roommate, the Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It and in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, in which she played Jackie Kennedy.
As for a return to her FNL role in the future? The actress isn’t feeding a reboot.
“I think some things are better left [with people] wanting more,” she previously said.