As his former New England Patriots team-mates spent Thursday preparing to play in the Super Bowl, Aaron Hernandez sat in a Massachusetts courtroom listening to opening arguments as his first-degree murder trial began.

Proceedings were originally scheduled for Tuesday but were postponed due to inclement weather in the region, with a further delay caused when a juror was late because of unploughed streets.

Patrick Bomberg presented an hour-long statement for the prosecution in which he highlighted two key findings in the state's case.

Mr Bomberg said that a footprint recovered at the scene of Odin Lloyd's killing matched shoes worn by Hernandez, and a marijuana joint found next to Lloyd's body contained DNA from both Lloyd and Hernandez.

It was stated that Hernandez and two associates drove Lloyd to an industrial park on June 17, 2013. Home surveillance footage placed Hernandez and the two associates arriving at Hernandez's nearby home about 10 minutes later.

Police discovered Lloyd's body later that day. He was shot six times with a .45 caliber handgun, according to Mr Bomberg.

The murder weapon has not been found and Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

When defence attorney Michael Fee took the floor, he told the jury circumstantial evidence alone would not be enough prove Hernandez's guilt.

"Mere presence is not enough in our system," Fee said in a 35-minute presentation. "We can't be convicted of a crime just because we hang with the wrong people or are in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Fee accused police of a "sloppy and unprofessional" investigation that immediately singled out Hernandez because of his fame and status as a professional football player.

"We are here because the police and prosecutors targeted Aaron Hernandez from the very beginning," Fee said. "Aaron never had a chance. It was over."

Hernandez's associates Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz also face murder charges in Lloyd's death and have pleaded not guilty.