Bettis, who ranks fifth on the NFL rushing list with 13,662 yards in 13 seasons, is one of four Steelers to make the cut. The others are: center Dermontti Dawson, linebacker Kevin Greene and safety Donnie Shell.
The one Browns player who made the cut was Clay Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker who played in Cleveland from 1978 to 1993.
Former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell, who was on the original list of 103 candidates, wasn't among the semifinalists. He hasn't been a finalist for the Hall of Fame since 2001.
The list will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January, and between four and seven enshrinees will be announced Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl.