FOXBORO, Mass. — Arguably the Patriots’ best offensive player was conspicuously absent ahead of Sunday’s season opener against Philadelphia.

New England held its final practice of Week 1 on Friday, and running back Rhamondre Stevenson was not spotted during the brief period that was open to reporters.

The reason for Stevenson’s absence was unclear. He was a full participant in each of the team’s first two practices this week and has not appeared on the injury report.

The Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed reported Stevenson still is expected to play Sunday.

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Losing Stevenson for Sunday’s matchup with the defending NFC champion Eagles would be a significant blow to New England’s offense. The third-year pro is coming off a stellar 2022 season in which he posted the fourth-most yards from scrimmage (1,461) by any Patriots player in the Bill Belichick era.

The Patriots have a proven No. 2 back in Ezekiel Elliott, but he just joined the team three weeks ago and recently said he still was learning the nuances of Bill O’Brien’s playbook.

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Elliott and Stevenson are the only running backs on New England’s 53-man roster. Second-year pro Kevin Harris and running back/receiver hybrid Ty Montgomery are on the practice squad. Even if both top backs are able to play Sunday, it would not be surprising to see Montgomery or Harris elevated to the gameday roster for additional backfield depth.

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Cornerback Jack Jones and quarterback Matt Corral also were absent during Friday’s open media period. Jones is dealing with a hamstring injury and reportedly is expected to miss time. It wasn’t clear why Corral did not practice, though it’s possible the Patriots already released him.

New England claimed Corral off waivers from the Carolina Panthers last week. Belichick said before practice that the team still was deciding whether to use him or practice squadder Bailey Zappe as Mac Jones’ primary backup this weekend.

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