By Amanda Rogers
Even though he’s played in the NFL, Lenzy Pipkins hasn’t forgotten where he came from or what it was like growing up in Mansfield.
Pipkins, 29, played professional football for four years after signing as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2017.
But he still remembers what it was like being a little kid, running around Mansfield and that’s what he wrote about in his new children’s book, “The Heir with Hair,” published May 12.
“It’s about a boy who is getting bullied,” Pipkins said, “but he ends up loving himself.”
While Pipkins, who is 6-feet tall, says he wasn’t beaten up, he did endure teasing.
“I grew up in Mansfield where there’s so many different people,” he said. “But it was bullying as in jokes and people not knowing that can hurt. I had shiny chocolate skin and wavy hair. I have heard all the jokes.”
The boy in “The Heir with Hair” also has wavy hair and gets teased about it.
“Through his father’s guidance he learns how to love his crown,” Pipkins said. “I didn’t give him a name because when people are reading it I want them to put themselves in his shoes. It’s a must-read for anyone who feels insecure about their appearance.”
Pipkins has two more children’s books written and ready to be released, one about women and another about father and son firefighters, like his own father and brother.
Pipkins’ career change from football player to writer actually came about because of another football player.
“I met (NFL running back) Jamaal Charles and he was telling me that he has all these kids and all they talk about it sports,” Pipkins said. “I went home and I said ‘I need to write a book.’ There are other ways to make good money besides sports and I wanted to write about them.”
For Pipkins, sports has been a way of life for years. He played basketball at Mansfield High School for three years, then switched to football.
“I didn’t start playing football until my senior year,” Pipkins said. “I went to a combine two weeks after I quit the basketball team and ran a 4.4 (second 40-yard dash).”
After a fantastic year at cornerback for the Mansfield High Tigers, Pipkins headed to the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where he played three years and graduated with a communications & marketing degree in 2016. After playing a year at Oklahoma State University, where he played football while working on his master’s degree, he signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Sharing a locker room with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Aaron Rodgers, could be intimidating, and Rodgers made sure he knew it, Pipkins said. Then Pipkins showed him and the rest of the team what he could do.
“My first practice I made a name for myself,” Pipkins said. “He came up to me after practice and said ‘You just showed everybody what you can do.’ I was the only undrafted to make the team that year.”
Three ruptured discs in his back, followed by surgery cut Pipkins’ NFL career short in 2021. He is fully healed and, after paying attention the the financial programs offered to NFL players, owns several companies.
And he’s back home in Mansfield.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.